COLUMBUS (WCMH) – As the final four candidates for the next Columbus Police Chief presented their cases as to why they want the job, many residents were watching from home to hear what they had to say.
Leaders from the B.R.E.A.D. Organization, Faith in Public Life, and the Black Liberation Movement of Central Ohio shared their thoughts on what they saw during the meeting, feeling the town hall felt more like a job interview rather than a community session.
However, some of them did narrow down their top two candidates.
“I’d like to see the two women, I really would,” said Noel Williams, a member of The B.R.E.A.D. Organization’s police reform committee.
“I would, too, and not just because they’re women,” added Rev. Susan Smith, founder of Crazy Faith Ministries. “Because they seem to have a different spirit about them, yes.”
The two female finalists are Elaine Bryant from Detroit and Ivonne Roman from Newark. They are joined in the final four candidates by Derrick Diggs from Fort Myers and Avery Moore from Dallas.
DaVante Goins, vice-president of the Black Liberation Movement of Central Ohio, said Bryant spoke to him.
“If appointed chief, she is going to have to come in and go in to the Linden communities, go into the Hilltop communities and speak with pastors such as Bishop Washington and others — sit down with the FOP — sit down with all these communities and bridge the divide,” he said.
Williams wants to hear more from Ivonne Roman.
“When she was talking about that, it made sense to me because that said, to me, she is going to do the research,” she said. “She is going to look at the evidence. It is important to her there are more minorities, more people of color.”
Overall, the group felt that the town hall lacked community interaction.
“It was a top-line interview, at best,” said B.R.E.A.D. co-president James Wynn. “It didn’t really get down to the meat, the meat, ‘if here’s the issue, how would you handle it specifically?’”
The all had questions that remained following the town hall.
“How would you deal with Black communities, particularly with all these killings?” aske Bishop Donald Washington with Mount Herman Baptist Church. “That’s the thing I want to know.”
“Dealing with the problems of this police department,” said Smith. “They didn’t even get into that and that was disappointing to me.
One thing everyone agreed upon as well was that the questions could have been more specific and were hoping for a more intimate gathering, being able to ask questions of the candidates in real time.