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Next Columbus police chief will have to get certified with Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy

In addition to the OPOTA certification, the next police chief will also have to pass the state certification exam.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — We've now heard from all four candidates hoping to become the next chief for the Columbus Division of Police.

Earlier this week, the city narrowed down its list of candidates to the following finalists:

  • 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

The next step is for Mayor Andrew Ginther to make his decision, but the new chief will have one more step in the process.

All four of the finalist for Columbus Police Chief are from outside of the state. While they are all certified in their own state, they will have to go to the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy and get certified.

For the first time in the city's history, Columbus will hire a police chief from outside of the division.

Columbus Civil Service Commission rules were changed in 2017 to allow for outside candidates to be eligible for the job. Even with that option, Mayor Ginther hired internal candidate, Thomas Quinlan as chief in 2019.

“Ohio does require to be a peace officer that you complete Ohio peace officer training approved curriculum. There is no designation or delineation between being a peace officer, the road officer who is out there every day, to a chief,” said Richard Hardy, the director of Professional Standards and Education at the Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy.

That means no matter who Ginther hires as chief from the list of finalists, they will all have to get OPOTA certified.

OPOTA will look at the training the new chief has already completed, and take that into consideration. A brand new officer typically completes more than 740 hours of training.

“They will probably have to complete at least around 170 to 200 hours minimum to cover Ohio statutory mandates. That includes prior continuous training requirements, companion animal encounters, domestic violence training, child investigations and so forth,” Hardy said.

There has never been an exception made to skip the certification, though Cincinnati Police Chief James Craig tried in 2012, but his appeal was unsuccessful.

Columbus' new chief will also have to pass the state certification exam.

“It is difficult. You can't just walk in. There's a lot of preparation for it. Somebody who has a career in law enforcement probably has the skills, knowledge and ability to be successful in this endeavor,” Hardy said.

The new chief will have one year to complete the certification.

Quinlan served as chief from February 2019 until January of this year before Mayor Ginther asked him to step down.


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