Columbus Safety Director Stepping Down
Columbus safety director Mitch Brown is retiring in the wake of criticism of the way his office handled thousands of calls to the city's 311 complaint center. Mayor Michael Coleman's office announced Thursday Brown will officially retire on October 3rd. Last week, Coleman , who hired Brown away from a similar job in Cleveland in the year 2000, issued a written reprimand after learning nearly 65 hundred calls to the city's 311 line were neglected since 2007. Many of those calls reported drug dealing, gang activity, neighbor disputes, and illegal fires. The announcement from Coleman's office lauded Brown's career of public service, but made no mention of the 311 issue. It also tried to put a positive spin on the federal civil rights lawsuit that was looming at the time of Brown's appointment. In 1997, the Justice Department sued the city and Columbus police, alleging officers engaged in a pattern or practice of abusing citizens' civil rights. Not long after Brown was appointed, the two sides reached an out-of-court settlement that required police, among other things, to install cameras in cruisers and move the internal affairs bureau out of the police headquarters building downtown.