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Columbus leaders share findings from Justice Department's review of police operations

Columbus Police vehicles outside the division headquarters.
David Holm

Columbus city leaders on Tuesday outlined new findings from a U.S. Department of Justice investigation of police operations.

"This report validates what that we're on the right track. But it also indicates there is still much work to be done," Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said.

The city requested the probein 2021, shortly after a Columbus police officer shot and killed 16-year-old Ma'Khia Bryant.

Nearly two years later, Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant said while the DOJ compliments steps the division has taken, the report also makes recommendations for improvement.

Among those is the formation of a new leadership group, which Chief Bryant said will be headed up by Assistant Chief Lashanna Potts and will include members from the mayor's office, public safety, the Columbus Civil Service Commission, the city attorney's office and the community. "This will hold the division accountable, and we can also update the public on the progress that we make," Bryant said.

Bryant also announced plans to add a third assistant chief position, increase the number of patrol zones across the city, and restructure the role of Community Liaison Officers, or CLOs, in order to increase community engagement. "Reinforcing the partnership between our officers and the community we serve is imperative for combating crime and achieving lasting public safety," she said.

In a new request, city leaders are asking the DOJ to further evaluate the city's use of force, technology and police training practices.

Matthew Rand is the Morning Edition host for 89.7 NPR News. Rand served as an interim producer during the pandemic for WOSU’s All Sides daily talk show.