COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Members of Columbus City Council have announced the third phase of the ‘Reimagining Public Safety’ initiative.
During a news conference at 10 a.m., Wednesday, council members announced both short and long-term proposals that focus on neighborhood safety and anti-violence programming.
One of those new ideas is a duty to intervene and the obligation to report for officers if they see another officer abuse their authority or use excessive force.
Another initiative would look at demilitarizing Columbus Police, taking a closer look at their equipment, vehicles, and tactics in dealing with the community.
Council hopes that implementing these measures will improve relations with the community and ultimately lead to more crimes being stopped or solved.
Earlier this year, City Council held a series of six virtual town halls about public safety.
During each of those discussions, the public was surveyed with the results were presented in March.
Residents answered survey questions about other options for responses to certain types of emergency calls, violence prevention, and investing in accountability and a better division of police.
When the results were released, Council President Shannon Hardin said the three big takeaways from the surveys were residents wanting more tools in the public safety toolbox, especially for mental health and addiction; residents wanting more invested in crime prevention like youth programs; and residents were looking for ways they can build stronger relationships with police.
According to Hardin, there were more than 4,000 survey responses throughout the town halls.
With crime rates spiking, City Council is asking for the community’s help in making a positive change.
“We’re bringing out a few tools in the toolbox, but we know there are other folks in our community that have other ideas and we invite you to engage with us, participate in the public hearings that’ll be taking place in the coming weeks, coming months,” said councilmember Shayla Favor. “Weigh in. Let us know. Give us a call. This is a collaborative effort, not just the members on council.”
Starting next week, every Columbus fire department will have free gun locks available to keep weapons out of the wrong hands.