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Columbus' Dept. of Public Safety receives $1 million grant for recruitment efforts

Columbus Police vehicles outside the division headquarters.
David Holm

Columbus' Department of Public Safety has been given a $1 million grant from state officials to be used to recruit first responders.

The funds are part of the state's Department of Public Safety Ohio First Responder Recruitment, Retention and Resilience program.

Mayor Andrew Ginther said in a release, “My goal is to have more police officers and firefighters on the streets by the end of 2024 than ever before, and this grant will help with those efforts. Just as important, it will help us diversify our safety forces to better reflect the residents they serve.”

Public Safety Director Kate McSweeney-Pishotti said, “I am excited about the possibilities this grant allows us. Our divisions of police and fire are elite, and this grant will allow us to attract the best and brightest police officers, firefighters and EMTs to help keep Columbus neighborhoods safe.”

The Department of Public Safety is examining current recruitment efforts and will employ changes to increase applicant numbers and increase the diversity of incoming classes. The city also plans to expand recruitment staff, implement a mentorship program for recruits and strengthen the use of technology to make sure applicants can successfully complete their training.

The city is working to hire a record number of police officers and firefighters.

The department says there will be three police and fire classes this year, including a police recruit class of 48 officers in August. There are also plans for three additional police and fire classes in 2024.

Jared Clayton Brown joined the WOSU News team in November 2022. He spent seven years working for the Fox and NBC affiliate stations in Louisville and three years with the CBS affiliate station in Columbus.