New Columbus Police Chief Embraces Challenge To Rebuild Trust
Columbus officials introduced the city's next police chief today. Elaine Bryant spent 21 years with Detroit's division. Bryant described herself as having a calling to serve the community and be a positive change.
"I faced many obstacles in my journey, some because of my gender and some because of my race," Bryant continued. "I never let these obstacles stand in my way. I'm determined to assure that issues of gender and race do not negatively impact our recruits, our officers, or the residents of Columbus."
Bryant sent a message to the Columbus officers she'll soon lead that trust will be the first task.
"I need to earn their trust and together, we need to rebuild the trust of our community." Bryant said. "We need that to tackle the biggest challenges facing this great city right now. No one person can make these changes. We need to have everyone involved to change a culture, rebuild trust, and restore neighborhood safety. This is going to take all of us - police officers, residents, faith leaders, business community, elected officials, and even the media."
Bryant also emphasized a focus on middle school youth programs and outreach to single mothers as additional options outside of crime initiatives. The city gave Bryant the ability to bring in her own staff from Detroit, and she's in the process of deciding on that team. Her official start date in Columbus has not been set. Interim Chief Michael Woods will stay on until the full transition takes place.
In selecting Bryant, Columbus Mayor Andy Ginther said the city found a leader, change agent, and reformer who has experience in law enforcement, sound judgement, empathy, and a commitment to community policing.