Quinlan Out As Columbus Police Chief

Jan 28, 2021

The police chief who oversaw a summer of Columbus protests and controversial shootings will no longer serve in that role.

Columbus Mayor Andy Ginther announced the decision in a video statement.

“It became clear to me that Chief Quinlan could not successfully implement the reform and change I expect and that the community demands. Columbus residents have lost faith in him and in Division’s ability to change on its own. Chief Quinlan understood. He agreed to step back, so the city can move forward. I appreciate Chief Quinlan’s service to the community and the changes he was able to implement in his time as chief.”

The city announced Quinlan’s hiring December 17, 2019 after he served ten months as interim chief. It’s unclear if Quinlan will remain with the division.

A national search drew 36 applicants with Quinlan and former Seattle Assistant Police Chief Perry Tarrant as the finalists. Both took part in a well-attended community forum in November 2019. 

At the announcement, Mayor Ginther acknowledged a lack of consensus on his choice but cited Quinlan's reorganization of the police division and a cultural shift toward accountability, transparency, and compassion as reasons for the decision.

Tensions between the community and police rose this summer after police clashed with protesters during protests. Then in December of last year, then Columbus police officer Adam Coy shot and killed an unarmed Andre Hill. Coy has since been fired.

City officials have been seeking the public’s help in reimagining policing in Columbus. In the coming weeks, Mayor Ginther plans to name members of the Civilian Review Board, which voters approved in November.   

Deputy Chief Mike Woods has agreed to serve as interim police chief while the city begins its search.