Consulting Group Unveils 140 Police Recommendations in Report
Editor’s note: This article has been corrected to state the recommendations are the work of Matrix Consulting Group, not the Columbus Community Safety Commission.
Matrix Consulting Group, the third-party consultant hired by the City of Columbus to review the Columbus Division of Police, has released their study and given 140 recommendations to reform police policies, hiring, training, and community perception. The Columbus Community Safety Advisory Commission will use the report in forming their recommendations.
The 330-page report is the result of a nearly year-long study, in which over 1,000 CDP employees and over 600 community members were surveyed. The commission’s review of the police department utilized the input of national and local experts in law enforcement and social justice.
The report found there is a nearly 20% difference in the perception of police services between white residents and black residents at 80% and 61% feeling positively, respectively. That same exact divide was reflected in the perception of police-community relations among white CDP employees and black CDP employees. In addition, 51% of black employees have experienced discrimination, while issues bias toward gender and sexual orientation were also present.
“This difference in experience, from discrimination to use of force, threatens the legitimacy of our public safety workforce, and the safety of our…first responders,” said Mayor Andrew Ginther, at a press conference reviewing the report.
Matrix Consulting Group’s review was in line with an Obama administration report on 21st-Century policing practices, a “gold standard” said Richard Brady, president of the consulting group, at the press conference.
Highlights from the report include recommendations on supervision and deployment, civilianizing some uniformed roles, reducing the number of two-officer cars to improve proactive policing, and ensuring officer mental wellness. Mayor Ginther said more police officers “die by their own hands” than at the hands of civilians, and sited the need for psychological care and expanding the definition of trauma.
Still, a large portion of the report recommends position changes within police subdivisions, and better balance workload and case management.
The report suggests changes should take place over the subsequent three years, with immediate needs taking place in or by the year 2020. Mayor Ginther said he will form an implementation committee to take on the task of carrying out recommendations from the report.
“This is a step in the right direction towards taking responsibility and taking action to build a police operation that protects and respects all residents,” said City Council President Shannon Hardin, in a press release. “Council members have many questions, and we look forward to hearing from the Mayor’s Safety Commission and residents in the coming weeks about what needs to happen next to make reforms a reality.”
The full report can be viewed here.