COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The vice president of the Columbus police union agrees with Mayor Andrew Ginther’s choice for police chief.
“I think Chief (Elaine) Bryant is going to be welcomed and is going to do a fine, fine job here, and I look forward to working with her and supporting her,” said Brian Steel, vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police Capital City Lodge 9.
Bryant, a deputy chief with the Detroit Police Department, was introduced Wednesday afternoon as Columbus’ next Chief of Police.
Steel said he spoke with Bryant about a week prior to the announcement, reportedly before Ginther made his decision to hire her.
“We talked about officer morale,” Steel said, adding that morale is the lowest he’s experienced in his 15 years in with the Columbus Division of Police. “I think if we work on it together, we’ll be able to improve it, I think she will be able to improve it. I hope she brings some fresh ideas and ways to get everything back to normal again.”
Steel also discussed collective bargaining with Bryant. Negotiations for a new contract with the union are currently stalled.
Bryant also spoke at length with some rank-and-file officers, according to Steel, who said the officers were happy with their conversation. Steel described Bryant as “down-to-earth” and “approachable.”
“The community is expecting maybe a different kind of police department, and a different way of policing,” Steel said. “And we realize as police officers and FOP, we serve the public. So if we get a clear, clear-cut direction from the community we serve on which way we’re going, we’re 100 percent going to follow that and work with the new chief to attain those goals.”