Source: Elaine Bryant to be named next Columbus police chief

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Elaine Bryant is expected to be named the next chief of the Columbus Division of Police.

A source with inside knowledge told NBC4’s Jamie Ostroff that Bryant will become the chief. Another finalist for the job, Ivonne Roman, tweeted her congratulations to Bryant Tuesday afternoon.

Bryant, 48, comes to Columbus after serving as a deputy chief in Detroit, where she oversaw a group of precincts. She previously was a commander in professional standards, a captain in the homicide division, a lieutenant who handled community relations and a sergeant who worked in the domestic violence division.

Bryant received her master’s degree in criminal justice administration from Bowling Green State University in 2019.

She would become Columbus’ second female chief, after Kim Jacobs, who served from 2012 to ’19, and its second Black chief, after James Jackson, who served from 1990 to 2009.

Sean Walton, the attorney representing the family of Henry Green, a Black man shot to death by Columbus Police in 2016, issued the following statement on Bryant’s selection as chief:

“We congratulate Chief Bryant and look forward to working with her as she seeks to transform the Columbus Division of Police. During the town hall, she vowed to be a change agent as she focuses on officer accountability. We will provide as much support as is needed to help her in this mission. Chief Bryant has significant experience working under a federal consent decree, and as that remains one of the primary goals of the Columbus Police Accountability Project, we believe that she will be able to guide the city of Columbus through that process. This city needs a visionary leader committed to reimagining public safety and establishing a culture that protects the people over bad police officers. We believe that she has the ability to be that leader, and we will hold her accountable to being such.”

Attorney Sean Walton

Bryant would replace Thomas Quinlan, who was returned in January to his previous position as a deputy chief after about a year on the job.

Ginther said he wanted an outsider to change the department after a turbulent period.

The department was criticized for how it handled protests Downtown last summer against police brutality, with special investigators finding eight incidents where officers may have broken the law. Then in December came the shooting of Andre’ Hill, an unarmed Black man, by an officer who was fired a week later and is now facing a murder charge. And in April came the shooting death of Ma’Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old who was threatening others with a knife.

Ginther commissioned an independent review of the department and put together the city’s first civilian review board.

Walton is a leader within the Columbus Police Accountability Project, a collective of Black activists, faith leaders and community leaders. The collective has publically called on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate issues of racism within the Columbus Division of Police.

Dr. Chenelle Jones, a member of the city’s newly-formed Civilian Review Board, said now would be a good time to welcome a new chief, since the board is still yet to meet.

“My advice to (Bryant) would be to meet with the community members understand the climate of the City of Columbus, understand the culture of Columbus, as well as the police department, meet with various people to listen, to learn, to engage, and then just start to move forward with, you know, what she thinks is perhaps best with the city,” Jones said.

The other two finalists are Avery Moore, assistant chief of Dallas police, and Ivonne Roman, retired chief of Newark, New Jersey, police.

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