With upcoming retirement, Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs looks back on 39 years in the force


In her office on the eighth floor of the Columbus Division of Police in downtown Columbus, Chief Kimberly Jacobs said she still hasn't crossed everything off of her to-do list.

"There's still things I wanted to do, should have done, that I didn't get done," Jacobs said.

The police chief has served the city of Columbus for 39 years. She was sworn in as chief by former Mayor Michael Coleman in 2012. Since then, a lot has changed.

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"Four years ago, we didn't have body cameras. Now, they're all out there on patrol using body cameras. That's a big change," Jacobs said.

In recent years, the division came under harsh criticism after several controversial police-involved shootings sparked angry protests, including the shooting death of 13-year old Tyree King in September of 2016. Police were responding to a report of an armed robbery.

Police shot the teen after officers said he pulled what appeared to be a gun from his waistband. It turned out the weapon was a BB gun. The next day, Chief Jacobs stood on the steps of city hall holding a replica photo of the weapon police mistook as a real gun.

10TV asked Chief Jacobs how she dealt with the division coming under political and social fire.

"The biggest thing I think associated with all the anti-police sentiment is people that are making judgments without facts," Jacobs said. "And, unfortunately, it takes a while to gather all of the facts and people are still judging, and so, we've had to deal with perceptions."

Jacobs said her greatest accomplishment is redefining the way officers engage with the people they serve.

"Officers understand that stopping in, talking to people, giving them explanations at the end of a call, going to meetings and things like that are important to how we react to our community," she said.

The chief will end her career carrying with her the pain that she is not leaving the division intact. In April of 2016, SWAT Officer Steve Smith was shot and killed in the line of duty. Jacobs keeps Smith's badge of honor next to her desk and said she looks at it every single day.

"It's my reminder of the one I lost." Jacobs said.

She said she will carry that loss with her, but looking back over her career, she said she has no regrets.

"None, no. I have loved all 39 years of my career. I have given the last seven years my best," Jacobs said.

For the first time in Columbus history, city hall will conduct a national search for the chief's replacement. Jacobs said she's not surprised.

"I think that's the norm now. Agencies across the country are doing national searches to see what's out there, who's interested in being in Columbus and being in charge," she said. "I do hope that they will also look at our internal candidates because I do feel we have an awful lot of dedicated people who have the definite capability of being the next police chief."