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Columbus police chief discusses her work to gain trust from officers and community

Elaine Bryant officially became the chief for the Columbus Division of Police on June 25.

Elaine Bryant officially became the chief for the Columbus Division of Police on June 25. Since then it’s been a busy time for the city’s top cop.

On Tuesday, she announced her first initiative to put officers in city parks to keep them safer coming out of the pandemic and hitting the height of summer.

This effort comes after a 17-year-old girl was killed and five others were injured at Bicentennial Park.

The new park detail is one change citizens will see, but Bryant said there is more on the way that may not be seen right away. This includes a strategic plan to take on the violence and escalating homicide rate.

“We're not only looking at reducing the amount of crime that's occurring but increasing our closure rate to get those people off the street as well,” she said.

As the new chief coming from outside the department, Bryant is also working on earning the trust of 1,900 officers that have been strained and under intense scrutiny.

“I have to earn their trust as an outsider coming into the division,” she said. “It's crucial that I learn the trust of the officers that work with me and I’ve been doing that.”

Bryant said she’s had a lot of conversations with the officers and including them in the decision-making process.

"Obviously they've been here a lot longer than me. A lot of great ideas I've been able to talk with them and we're looking into implementing some of those ideas,” she said.

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