COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ned Pettus Jr., who oversees Columbus’ police and fire divisions as its public safety director, announced his retirement Thursday.
Pettus, 69, has worked for the city for 40 years. His retirement is effective Sept. 1.
“Serving this city has been my honor and privilege. This is the community that made me. It is a part of who I am, and always will be,” Pettus said in a news release. “But as I approach my 70th birthday, the time has come to focus full-time on my family.”
Pettus joined the Division of Fire in 1977 and became chief in 2002, serving for 10 years. Mayor Andrew Ginther appointed him to his current position in 2016.
“Pettus has been a guiding force in the effort to strengthen and improve our city’s most essential services,” Ginther said. “He has implemented changes and reforms that resulted in safety forces that better reflect and serve our community. I am grateful for his leadership and decades of dedication.”
His retirement comes after months of controversy surrounding the police division, beginning with its response to protests Downtown last summer and continuing through the shooting deaths of Andre’ Hill and Ma’Khia Bryant by police officers. During that time, Ginther and Pettus worked to hire Elaine Bryant after returning Thomas Quinlan to his previous role as a deputy chief after about one year.