Media Relations Team
Director of Media Relations
Director of Communications
March 9, 2018
“We are all different. There is no such thing as a standard or run-of-the-mill human being, but we share the same human spirit.”
- Stephen Hawking, 1942-2018
Last summer, I embarked on a series of community conversations to hear what was on the minds of residents. These were small gatherings in different neighborhoods with people across the spectrum: faith leaders, civic and community leaders, law enforcement, activists, teachers.
Top on the list of concerns was safety.
In November, I launched the Comprehensive Neighborhood Safety Strategy that builds on our fundamental belief in the critical importance of community policing -- a belief that we’re safer when we proactively address public safety in cooperation with our residents.
Last week, as part of the strategy, I appointed 17 people to the Columbus Community Safety Advisory Commission. Like participants in the conversations we held last year, the Commissioners are diverse in every way. They are community leaders and safety officers. They are pastors and social service professionals. They are academics and activists.
I am grateful for every one of them because we need their voices. All of their voices.
The work of the Safety Commission comes at a time our city is faced with increased homicides, unprecedented gun violence and a vicious opiate addiction epidemic. These are challenges for our neighbors, as well as our police officers.
To address these issues, we must ensure that our Division of Police has the best training, policies, procedures and recruitment in the nation. That is the goal of the Commission.
They will focus on areas such as de-escalation, crisis intervention and implicit bias training, use of force policies, diversity recruitment and retention, and officer wellness programs.
They will consider the needs of our police recruits and officers, ensuring they have the support to succeed on day one and beyond.
They will thoroughly review existing research of respected law enforcement and social justice experts and help identify an objective, independent consultant to support their work.
At the end, they will make concrete, actionable recommendations to me on ways to further strengthen our Division of Police.
I don’t expect a unanimous consensus from the Commission – and I don’t expect every person in the city to agree with the recommendations the Commission makes.
Change is difficult, but necessary to stay ahead of growing challenges in a growing city. I expect vigorous, respectful conversations as we move together to form a community that is safer for everyone.