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Columbus Narrows Nationwide Police Chief Search To Two Candidates

Columbus Police cruiser vehicle
Adora Namigadde

The search committee for the next Columbus Police chief announced that its search has come down to two finalists: Columbus Police Interim Chief Tom Quinlan and former Seattle Police Assistant Chief Perry Tarrant.

“These two candidates best represent what we are looking for in our next Police Chief – a transformational leader, change agent, innovator who will achieve excellence using the model of 21st century policing," said deputy chief of staff Dawn Tyler Lee in a city email. As deputy chief of staff, Lee is in charge of the search committee.

A public forum to meet the two candidates will be held Thursday, Nov. 21 at East High School at 6 p.m. The forum will be livestreamed online.

Quinlan was namedInterim Chief of Police in February after former Chief Kim Jacobs retired from the role. He is a 30-year department veteran who previously served as deputy police chief.

Tarrant recently retired from the Seattle Police Department, where he served as Assistant Police Chief while the department was under a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice. He's also served as president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.

Mayor Andrew Ginther pushed the city to conduct a nationwide search for Jacobs' replacement, saying he wanted someone committed to increasing diversity among officers and improving community-police relations. If the city hires a chief from outside the department, it would be the first time in its history.

This year, the city has conducted surveys and held roundtable discussions with police officers and community members to gauge what they wanted from a new chief.

Thirty-six people applied for the job, and five candidates met with the search committee earlier this week. The search committee includes Ginther, City Council safety chair Mitch Brown, and Public Safety director Ned Pettus.

A new chief could be selected by the end of the year.

Adora Namigadde was a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU News in February 2017. A Michigan native, she graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in French.