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What should Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant’s biggest priority be on day one?

Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant’s first day on the job is Friday.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Cleveland Avenue. The Linden area. “Zone Four” as it’s referred to by Columbus Police. Here is where 20 of the city’s 94 homicides have happened this year.

Number 20 happened Wednesday evening.

“Every day,” Keana Fleming said. “Every day is something different and it’s something a little worser than what it was the day before.”

Fleming is fed up with the violence.

Credit: 10TV/WBNS

“If it don’t stop now it’s going to get worser and worser and worser and worser,” she said.

She’s also fed up with the runaround. She says sometimes dispatchers on calls to 911 will tell her “they’ll get there when they get there.” Fleming also says one call of a disturbance at her place of work took four-and-a-half hours for an officer to stop by.

“We [sic] about to be in the hundreds [of homicides] and you tell me you’ll get there whenever you get there,” she said. “No, it don’t work like that.”

It’s why Thursday, while sitting up two chairs on Cleveland Avenue and when asked about incoming Police Chief Elaine Bryant, Fleming and others teed off on what the chief’s biggest issues will be.

“Police reform,” Fleming said.

“I’d say the gun violence out here,” Kevin Bayless said.

Bayless has lived in Linden 48 years. He loves it. He’d love even more to see positive change.

“Do you feel like [Bryant’s] going to get it done or she’s over her head,” 10TV’s Bryant Somerville asked Bayless.

Credit: 10TV/WBNS

“I believe she’ll get it done,” he said.

Everett Thornton thinks Bryant’s biggest issue is trust within her department.

“I think that she has to gain the trust of her fellow officers,” he said. “You have to have that.”

The Marine veteran also says change starts at home.

“Black Lives Matter movement, defund the police – that’s the dumbest [expletive] I’ve ever heard,” he said. “When something happens and it happens in the hoods, Black communities, who’s the first person they call? The police.”

Credit: 10TV/WBNS

Thornton believes parents have to be held accountable and not create toxic hostility between their children and police and, instead, help to create mutual respect.

Bayless, though, says the toughest question for Chief Bryant: What is the answer?

“I don’t know,” he said. “I’m trying to figure out what’s the solution.”

Maybe change doesn’t lie with just one person.

“Do you feel optimistic with chief Bryant coming in,” Somerville asked Fleming.

“Yeah,” she said. “I think she’ll shake things up.”

Maybe change lies with all of us.

“It’s a collaborative effort,” Bayless said. “It’s not just on [Bryant] it’s about everybody coming together.”

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