Review of Columbus Division of Police finds over half of black employees experienced discrimination

Local News

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — More than a hundred new policies and procedures have been advised for the Columbus Division of Police.

A consultant group was hired to see what they are doing wrong and what they are doing right.

The group found that 80% of people had positive perceptions of police. They also found that the policies and training are excellent, however, implementing them were inconsistent.

During a nine-month review, a third-party consulting group found that more than half of black employees within CPD experienced discrimination and that black Columbus residents had a less positive view of police than the population as a whole.

It’s something that acting police Chief Thomas Quinlan calls disappointing.

“We want all experiences to be as professional and positive as they can be given the situation,” Quinlan said.

Matrix Consulting Group was hired to review policies and protocol within the department and come up with ways to improve. The end result was 140 recommendations, some of which CPD does not agree with.

“There are 13 we disagree with as they are currently written. Doesn’t mean we can’t find some common ground,” Quinlan said.

Out of the more than 100 recommendations, there are four that are said to be extremely important.

Including working better with the community, using 21st century policing, adding more sergeants, specifically 17 more.

“If you’re more in that supervisory range we are recommending, incidents typically don’t escalate and they are able to counsel their staff on the scene,” Matrix President Richard Brady said.

And the fourth one, insure that people on patrol have enough time to be proactive within the community.

“One of the things we are going to have to do is make sure we have the right number of officers in right places at the right time,” Mayor Andrew Ginther said.

However, they said the overall report was positive.

“53% of the recommendations of the 140 we have already either implanted or in process of implementing before the report came out which gives credit to the division to show that we’re anticipating what the needs are of the division and officers willingness to change,” Quinlan said.

Below are the key findings from the report as presented in a press release from the city:

  • Disparities in the perception of policing: While overall perceptions of CPD are very high (80%), the positive perceptions drop significantly among black residents (61%).
  • Disparities in the Division: Perceptions of bias and discrimination within CPD vary greatly. 51% of black employees have experienced discrimination. Gender bias and sexual orientation appear to be issues, as well.
  • Supervision: While Matrix found policies and training at CPD are excellent, implementation of these policies and procedures is inconsistent.
  • Deployment: Matrix suggested ways to improve deployment of officers to assure that appropriate number of officers are on duty at the right time.
  • Officer wellness: Matrix found significant room for enhancing officer well-being, including expanding the definition of trauma and continuing to instill a stronger cultural understanding around the need for psychological care.
  • Seniority: Special assignments and promotions are based too heavily on seniority instead of merit.

“We hired an independent third-party consulting firm to conduct an operational review of the Columbus Division of Police through the lens of 21st century policing. Matrix Consulting has worked with our officers, community members and city staff over the last year to develop the report that we are making available to you today,” said Mayor Ginther. “I look forward to digesting the report more fully and implementing strategies for a stronger Columbus.”

“We heard the report from Matrix today on challenges and changes for the Division of Police. This is a step in the right direction towards taking responsibility and taking action to build a police operation that protects and respects all residents,” said Council President Shannon G. Hardin. “Council members have many questions, and we look forward to hearing from the Mayor’s Safety Commission and residents in the coming weeks about what needs to happen next to make reforms a reality.”

“After decades working to bridge the divides between public safety officers and neighborhood residents, I’m committed to realistic reforms needed in Columbus and will help make sure we start planning now to provide the proper resources in the next budget,” said Councilmember and Public Safety Chair Mitchell J. Brown.

Click here to read the full report.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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