Columbus releases list of 34 applicants to become police chief

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – The persons trying to become Columbus’ next police chief have been announced.

Former Chief Thomas Quinlan stepped down in January, about a month after Andre’ Hill was shot and killed by former officer Adam Coy. Ever since Quinlan’s demotion, the city has been looking for a new chief.

“We need a ‘hands-on, face-to-face, not afraid to walk the street, put your gun away for heaven’s sakes and talk with me’ kind of leader and initiative to turn us around,” said Dr. Tim Ahrens, co-facilitator of Area Religious Coalition.

The posting for the job was removed Monday, and the list of applicants was released Wednesday morning by the office of Mayor Andrew Ginther:

  • Timothy Becker, deputy chief of Columbus police (criminal investigations subdivision)
  • Elaine Bryant, deputy chief of Detroit police
  • Gary Cameron, Pickaway County chief dog warden and former Columbus police commander
  • Thomas Cassella, director of security for Caesars Entertainment Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore
  • Robert Clark, criminal justice professor at National University in San Diego and former FBI assistant special agent in charge
  • Ronald Davis, captain of Metra Police Department, a commuter rail system in Chicago
  • Derrick Diggs, chief of Fort Myers, Florida, police
  • Guytano Farnan, former criminal justice instructor at ITT Technical College
  • John Franklin, former chief of Jacksonville, Arkansas, police
  • Bryan Gomez, market director at Common Spirit Health in Des Moines, Iowa
  • Garrik Haynes, executive officer to the deputy chief of Kansas City, Missouri, police
  • James Kohl, criminal justice professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey
  • Kenneth Kuebler, deputy chief of Columbus police (special operations subdivision)
  • Joseph Lestrange, division chief of Homeland Security Investigations in Washington, D.C.
  • Patrick Melvin, administrator of Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in Phoenix
  • Anthony Miranda, CEO of Anthony Miranda & Associates, a police consulting firm
  • Gideon Mitchell, teacher at Columbus Public Schools
  • Avery Moore, assistant chief of Dallas police (investigations and tactical branch)
  • Jessica Moore, special agent at the FBI
  • Bryan Norwood, vice president of public safety at Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority
  • Estella Patterson, deputy chief of Charlotte-Mecklenburg police (patrol services group) in North Carolina
  • Donald Pezzuto, former security office at Will County Sheriff’s Office in Joliet, Illinois
  • Edward Reynolds, chief of Southern University of Shreveport police in Louisiana
  • Ivonne Roman, co-founder of 30×30 Initiative, which seeks to increase representation of female police officers, former chief of Newark, New Jersey, police
  • LaRon Singletary, former chief of Rochester, New York, police
  • St. Francis Smith, special agent at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection
  • Wendy Stiver, director of research and procedural justice for Charleston, South Carolina, police
  • Robert Strausbaugh, commander with Columbus police
  • Joseph Sullivan, former deputy commissioner of Philadelphia police
  • Perry Tarrant, executive director of FBI-LEEDA, a law enforcement training firm in Malvern, Pennsylvania, and the other finalist when Quinlan was named chief
  • David Taylor, program manager at G4S, a security services firm in Washington, D.C.
  • Dana Walters, nurse at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
  • Samuel Wyatt, audit director at Louisiana State University System in Baton Rouge
  • Michael Zerbonia, former colonel at Illinois State Police in Springfield

It’s the second time in as many years that Columbus is looking to hire a new police chief.

“I really think this is a pivotal moment,” Ahrens said.

His group, the Area Religious Coalition, has been calling for division-wide police reform. It also wanted Quinlan out as chief and wants the division’s next leader to come from outside the department.

“They need to be fearless,” Ahrens said. “They need to be able to make change within the department, and I would say they need to be anti-racist.”

Even though three of the applicants are internal, Ginther said the next chief will come from outside the division, calling this a top priority. Over the last few months, he said has talked with prospective candidates, mayors and those in law enforcement about what the city is looking for.

“We know that the role of police chief in any of America’s cities is one of the most important and high-profile and significant,” Ginther said.

Ahrens wants someone who’s compassionate and community oriented. Whoever gets the job will be stepping into a community and division dealing with the fallout from last summer’s protests and several police shootings.

“We need somebody who is creative and who can look at the situation we’re in and build bridges in this situation between the community and the police,” he said. “We’re really looking for someone who can press that reset button and get us headed in the right direction.” 

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