COLUMBUS (WCMH) — From the public to the police union, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther’s pick for police chief has drawn praise from different corners of the community.
Now, the interim chief of the department Elaine Bryant leaves behind is offering his own insights about the next leader of the Columbus Division of Police.
Bryant spent her entire 21-year law enforcement career at the Detroit Police Department, rising through the ranks to eventually become a deputy chief.
“I spent my whole morning talking about who can replace her,” said Chief James White, a former assistant chief who was tapped to lead the Detroit Police Department last month. “It is a very, very difficult task because she is multi-dimensional — and her leadership style — there’s things that you just can’t measure.”
White, a former assistant chief and 24-year DPD veteran, worked with Bryant throughout her career. He said her profile at the department began to grow during her stint in charge of the Office of the Chief Investigator, a group of sworn civilians tasked with investigating use-of-force complaints while DPD spent 13 years under a federal consent decree.
“She spent a few years investigating those complaints, completed our backlog in record time,” White said. “That really catapulted her — her career, exposure to the entire department and her unique skill set for really changing processes, being an innovative– innovative thinker.”
Bryant later brought those skills to the Major Crimes Unit, which White said was struggling with a low closure rate for homicides.
“She restructured the entire homicide unit, taking the best investigators, putting them in the more complex cases, and was able to get us the highest closure rate that we’ve seen in a number of years,” White said. “I’m actually going to emulate what she did in the next few months here, because we’ve gotten away from it.”
Most recently, Bryant oversaw the East Patrol Division. During that time, White said Bryant implemented new training for officers in a successful effort to curb an uptick in officer-involved vehicle crashes.
In searching for Columbus’ next Chief of Police, Ginther stressed he was looking for an agent of change. White described Bryant as just that.
“Challenging the status quo and being innovative, and coming up with some ideas that work,” White said.
White described Bryant as “confident, conscientious and supportive,” adding that she’s taken to mentoring young officers as they begin their law enforcement careers.