With the virtual town hall meeting scheduled for Wednesday, the Columbus Police Department faces the question of which of the finalists will step up as the new police chief. Of the nine candidates selected, four finalists have been chosen: Elaine Bryant, Derrick Diggs, Avery Moore, and Ivonne Roman. During the town hall meeting, citizens will be able to speak to these candidates personally to ask what they intend to accomplish as Columbus police chief.
Over the past week, the department has received a lot of questions as to what kind of leadership they want from the new police chief, as well as the kind of reforms that will be implemented in terms of police accountability and training. After the death of Andre Hill at the hands of a police officer, many people are understandably concerned about what steps can be taken to ensure that examples of police brutality such as this aren’t swept under the rug.
Finalist Ivonne Roman is someone who unfortunately grew up with such occurrences. Having been born in Puerto Rico and grown up in Newark, she stated in an interview how her father experienced cruelty at the hands of the police due to his ethnicity. This is what motivated her to join the police force, so she could be the change she wanted to see, becoming a high-ranking law official. She expressed the need for reforms to be put in place to hold the police accountable.
“Policing is in a crisis right now and I believe Columbus is poised to become a national model," Roman was quoted saying. People leading by example is unfortunately something we haven’t witnessed much in the past few years. If these candidates are up to the challenge of not only reforming the police department, but also acting as a model for the attitude police should have towards police accountability, then this might be the first step to making sure the lives of Andre Hill and many others are given the justice that they deserve.