Columbus community leaders split on new police chief

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Now that the search is over for a new police chief, members of the community had a lot to say about the decision.

Mayor Andrew Ginther announced Thomas Quinlan as the Columbus Police Department’s new chief.

This is exciting news for Father John Stavropolous of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral.​ ​

“I hope we can build on the good success of the previous administrator. We tend to be more police friendly. More interaction with the community so a lot of the barriers and prejudices they have with them may be torn down,” said Stavropolous.

The topic of diversity and inclusion keeps coming up among those who live in the city.

A report released back in August made dozens of recommendations on how the department can improve community-police relations and address a perception of bias.​

Pastor Jeffrey Kee of New Faith Baptist Church was on the advisory board in the search for the city’s new chief. He isn’t confident Quinlan will turn any of those issues around.

“Sometimes, if you’re part of the culture, you can not change that culture,” Kee said. “Over and over, I heard Quinlan talk about his 30 year relationships. I feel that has contributed to the downward spiral.”

The Columbus Urban League’s ​Stephanie Hightower – who was also on the board – doesn’t see it that way.

She was there for the announcement and believes Quinlan when he said he will address those issues.​

“He’s going to push those kinds of efforts. He’s going to look at the blueprint, take notice, and implement those kinds of things that he and the mayor and the safety director have talked about,” said Hightower.

Stavropoulos is confident Quinlan will deliver on his promise as well.​ However, he would have liked to have heard more from both candidates before the mayor made his decision.​ ​

“They should have had more than one town hall meeting,” Stavropoulos said. “They should have done to different parts of Columbus and ask for opinion depending on the different demographics of the area.”

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