COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Two leaders of the Columbus Division of Police are now certified peace officers in Ohio.

Since Chief of Police Elaine Bryant and Assistant Chief Lashanna Potts came to Columbus from out of state, they had to complete certain training and testing. They finished those courses and were officially sworn in Tuesday night.

The ceremony comes as the department continues to try to reduce crime in the city.

Bryant and Potts both said Tuesday that reducing violence continues to be one of their top priorities, much as it was when they both joined the division nine months ago.

While they said progress has been made, there is still work to do.

Bryant and Potts started their jobs in Columbus in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and what would end up being a record-breaking year for deadly violence in Columbus. Now they’re certified peace officers able to serve in Ohio.

“The officers have embraced us and every little hurdle we’ve run into, we’ve been able to, with community support and the support of officers, to get over it and I think we just take each day as it comes,” Potts said.

Shortly after they were sworn in, a man was shot near a community center on the east side. However, violent crime numbers, so far, are down compared to this point last year.

“Crime is on the decrease, but we’re not claiming victory,” Bryant said. “We know we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

According to police, there were 393 felonious assaults through this time last year. There have been 282 this year. Police said there were 52 homicides by this time in 2021; for 2022, that number is 28.

Potts credits the decline in violent crime to police work and help from the community.

“Our residents have stepped up and they’ve been extremely helpful in helping us solve a lot of our crimes,” Bryant added. “So as we solve more crimes, you will see a decrease in crime because, as we know, there’s not a large number of people committing a lot of these crimes, it’s a smaller number of people. So as we lock them up and hold them accountable, we hope this trend will continue, that crime will decrease.”

Bryant also looks to improve the city’s unsolved crime statistics.

“We won’t stop,” she said. “We’re going to continue to try to get justice for these families.”

Both Bryant and Potts completed 176 hours of training to get their Ohio certifications. Now they say they’ll be spending more time out in the community and with officers.