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Mayor Ginther Appoints Commission To Review Columbus Police Policies

Columbus mayor Andrew Ginther.
Andrew Welsh-Huggins
Associated Press

Mayor Andrew Ginther announced he will appoint 17 people to a newly-formed Community Safety Advisory Commission.

The commission was proposed in Novemberas part of Ginther's comprehensive Neighborhood Safety Strategy, and will be tasked with reviewing how the Columbus Police operate, including policies, training and procedures.

Janet Jackson, the former president of the United Way of Central Ohio and the first woman to serve as Columbus City Attorney, will lead the commission.

"We face three intersecting challenges in Columbus: People question high profile police actions in Columbus, high homicide rates, and the opioid crisis," Jackson said.

Jackson said the commission will also focus on police training for de-escalation tactics, implicit bias and cultural competency.

More than 100 people applied to be part of the commission. Ginther proposed that the group members should reflect the diversity of the city.

“I believe we need a public, transparent community review of the Columbus Police training policies and procedures,” Ginther said in November. “A review that recommends public safety strategies, expectations and to protect and serve our entire community.”

Ginther's safety strategy came in response to the city's homicide spike, which ended in 2017 being the deadliest year on record for Columbus. Police have blamed a lack of community trust for the high rate of unsolved homicides.

Ginther's proposals also included the end of the controversial "Community Safety Initiative" and the creation of a new pilot program for more foot patrols. The commission will give consideration to another one of Ginther's plans, to double minority representation among Columbus first responders.

In January, Ginther announced that the city will increase the number of Columbus Police recruits beginning in 2018, although community activists have said that adding more officers will not solve the city's problems.

Gabe Rosenberg joined WOSU in October 2016. As digital news editor, Gabe reports breaking news and edits all content for the WOSU website, as well as manages the station's social media accounts.