COLUMBUS, Ohio — Newly hired Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant is the first in the position for many things; she is the first Black woman to hold the position and the first outside candidate to take over as chief.
Now, she will be the first Columbus Division of Police chief to have security.
“We've never had an external chief. She has to do some things to get certified to carry a gun here as a law enforcement officer. In the meantime, she has to go around the city. She is not super familiar with the city probably just yet,” said Fraternal Order of Police Capital City Lodge #9 President Keith Ferrell.
Columbus Police Public Information Officer Sergeant James Fuqua said the security ensures the chief can get out into the community and meet members.
“She wants to ensure when she goes out to the community and places where she has officers in place that A-they know the city and they can get her there as quickly as possible so she can engage with the community,” said Columbus Police Sergeant James Fuqua.
Bryant has brought on two current Columbus police officers to provide security detail. They will provide protection for the new chief as she goes out into the community. Until Bryant becomes Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy certified, she cannot carry a gun or wear a uniform.
“Although Chief Bryant does have police powers, coming from Michigan, she does not want to violate OPOTA's rules and regulations by carrying a firearm while on duty,” Fuqua said.
The security is currently a temporary assignment. Fuqua says it may become permanent.
The two officers chosen have four and 23 years of service in the department. They were chosen because they had a good fit with personal security backgrounds, according to Fuqua.
Fuqua said neither of the officers were taken from the detective bureau, adding Chief Bryant did not want to take staffing from critical areas. A third officer will be trained as backup.
“This is not an uncommon occurrence across the united states in police departments in many other police chiefs have an executive protective unit or some type of security detail that is assigned,” Fuqua explained.
Ferrell argues if the security details help the chief succeed, it is worth it.
“I think it's important that she gets out into the community, and if this helps her get out and interact and hopefully reach some groups that can hopefully influence the youth in our community that are committing all the violence and crime, I think it's beneficial,” said Ferrell.