Columbus City Council members are examining how police officers are dispatched and other potential reforms in 2021.
During a Monday press event, members said they believe hiring more trained social workers and crisis-intervention specialists to respond to calls regarding mental health and addiction will free officers to let them focus on violent crimes and community engagement. The city is planning to move the 911 dispatchers and call takers into the Department of Public Safety. Council members plan to introduce legislation allowing officer identification information to be visible on all uniforms, improve housing equity, access to education and poverty assistance to help address underlying issues that can lead to violence, and invest in violence prevention programs. Council Monday approved an 80 thousand dollar contract for an independent audit of the civil service testing and recruitment process. Liz Reed of the Civil Service Commission says that measure is among the police reform recommedations previously issued by a safety advisory panel:
Many of the changes were fueled by the panel and by police brutality protests over the summer. Earlier this month, Columbus voters approved the creation of a citizens review board to oversee police conduct.