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Final 4 candidates explain why they should be the next Columbus police chief in virtual town hall

The candidates were asked several questions ranging from what has prepared them to lead the city to how they would rebuild credibility within the community.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The final four candidates hoping to become Columbus’ next chief of police sat down for a virtual community town hall Wednesday evening.

The candidates were asked several questions ranging from what has prepared them to lead the city to how they would rebuild credibility within the community.

A total of 34 people applied for the job. On Monday, the city narrowed down the list to the following candidates:

  • Elaine Bryant, Deputy Chief, Detroit Police Department
  • Derrick Diggs, Chief of Police, Fort Myers Police Department
  • Avery Moore, Assistant Chief of Police, Dallas Police Department
  • Ivonne Roman, Co-Founder of 30X30 Initiative, NYU Policing Project

Elaine Bryant has 21 years of law enforcement and is currently a deputy chief in Detroit. She also recently graduated with her master's degree in criminal justice from Bowling Green State University.

She has also served as a liaison between faith-based organizations and the Detroit Police Department. She also has been responsible for creating and implementing community relations projects within the city.

Bryant says there are many similarities between Detroit and Columbus, including having a civilian review board.

"We've had a civilian oversight board since the 70s," Bryant said. "I have a great relationship with our board of police commissioners. We work with them all the time."

Bryant said she works with the police commissioners in regards to policy reviews, oversees the disciplinary process and they stand with the community and the police.

Coming from Fort Myers, Florida, Derrick Diggs currently serves as the police chief in the city. With 44 years of experience, Diggs has helped lead Fort Myers to a 51% reduction in violent crime in the four years he has served as chief.

He also previously served as Toledo's police chief.

Diggs says he is confident he can help rebuild credibility between police and the community with proper police training, youth development, diversity and inclusion and other focus areas.

In his application, Diggs said that trust and transparency are at the center of his career and that Fort Myers "parallels to some of the challenges of the Columbus police department."

The Florida Commission on Ethics investigated Diggs for possible misuse of his city credit card.

Moore has served in law enforcement for three decades and is currently the assistant chief at the Dallas Police Department.

He said in his application that he has visited Columbus already and met with community leaders.

Moore, who helps oversee more than 3,000 officers in Dallas, has helped decrease the homicide rate by 22% in the city. He says he is ready for the position.

“I’m ready. I believe I’ve been groomed for this, developed for it. And all I need is the opportunity to come forward with the police department, with the community. We embrace each other and say ‘We are going to be the best that way can be,'" Moore said.

Ivonne Roman has served 25 years in law enforcement and also led the 30x30 initiative. The goal of it is to increase female police officers across the country by 30% by 2030.

Before that, she worked with the Newark Police Department in New Jersey before recently retiring.

Currently, she works at the center of policing equity, helping police chiefs identify racial disparities.

Calling herself a life-long learner, Roman says she uses science to help understand what programs are working and understanding why they may not be.

"I've got the support of a ton of experts that want to come along with me to Columbus and want to implement these strategies that the science shows works. That the science shows will not harm communities. That's my interest in coming here," Roman said.

Roman said she wants to build a team of talent to work alongside the talent that already exists in Columbus.

"I think that Columbus is poised for an opportunity to not just correct the harms that have been caused in Columbus, but to be a national model that other agencies could replicate," Roman said.

The four finalists are looking to replace Thomas Quinlan who was the chief from February 2019 until January of this year when he was asked to step down by Mayor Andrew Ginther.

You can watch the full town hall below.

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