COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus has surpassed the highest-ever number of homicides in a calendar year. The number of homicides has had a big impact on city leaders, the community and the police department.
Franklin County Prosecutor Gary Tyack says it's been a tough year for the city.
“The biggest problem is that the crime wave in Central Ohio doesn't seem to be abating. We have to be responsible for it,” he explained.
In an exclusive interview with 10TV's Lacey Crisp, Tyack spoke about the challenges facing his office, one year after he was voted in.
“One of the big changes that our office (has) made is that we are willing to consider charging a police officer who shoots someone and shouldn't have,” he said.
Tyack, who was a judge for 24 years, said he wanted to make changes in the way the prosecutor's office handled cases, specifically those involving law enforcement.
“We feel like it is our job to let the community know, especially the African-American community that they are not fair game for a police officer,” he said.
Tyack was elected shortly before the shooting deaths of Casey Goodson and Andre Hill, both of which were killed at the hands of law enforcement. Special prosecutors have been appointed in both cases.
Tyack said he could not give an update on when or if charges will be filed against Jason Meade, the Franklin County Sheriff's deputy who shot and killed Goodson nearly a year ago.
“The reason why you see we've had some police officers indicted is that we have people who can handle those cases that are on contract with us," he explained.
Tyack says he is working on hiring more prosecutors for the office, specifically diverse candidates, to help with the overwhelming amount of cases involving homicides, felonious assaults, and robberies.
“We have excellent staff, and we have excellent prosecutors, some of whom I have hired. I have added more African-Americans and other folks so we have a little more balance than what the office was before,” he said.
Tyack says between the pandemic, and the unwillingness for people to show up for jury duty, his office has had to prioritize cases they will take to trial because there is such a backlog.