COLUMBUS (WCMH) – For more than five hours, members of the Columbus City Council listened to testimony about Columbus Police and whether or not to limit how much military equipment the police department can purchase.
Among the speakers was Police Deputy Chief Michael Woods, who covered a list of military-grade items, telling council members which ones the department uses and which ones they do not, along with the cost of each of those items.
City Council President Pro Tem Elizabeth Brown called the hearing as chairwoman of council’s finance committee to review and potentially revise the city’s purchasing code, which allows the police department to buy its equipment.
Brown said she doesn’t want the police to look and feel to residents like we are at war.
“There should be a covenant between police and people that we are on the same side, hoping for and building a stronger city,” she said. “I believe we can all put our stamp on that mission.”
Brown said 69 members of the public signed up to comment at the meeting. On top of that, more than 900 submitted written testimony.
In a letter to Brown before the meeting, the vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police, the union which represents Columbus’ officers, said, in part:
“…there is a lot of confusion, emotion, and misinformation right now. For this reason, the FOP is meeting with a diverse number of people and organizations in the community and we are listening and learning. We are willing to sit down with you because we truly believe our goals are the same.”