Columbus, OH

Elaine Bryant: First Black Woman to be New Columbus Police Chief

Liz Fe Lifestyle

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther has announced the new chief of the Columbus Division of Police. Former Detroit deputy chief, Elaine Bryant will be the first black woman and the first person from outside the division to lead the Columbus department.

Bryant is 48 years old and had been with the Detroit police department since 2000, where she held a variety of positions, including captain of the homicide division, lieutenant who handled community issues and a sergeant in the domestic violence division. In 2019, she received her master’s degree in criminal justice administration from Bowling Green State University. She will become Columbus’ second female chief after Kim Jacobs, who served from 2012 to 2019. She will also be the second black chief after James Jackson, who served from 1990 to 2009.

Bryant was one of the four finalists for the job, beating out Dallas Assistant Chief Avery Moore, New Jersey police chief Ivonne Roman and Fort Myers, Florida police chief Derrick Diggs. The chief position is a five-year term.

As she begins her work as chief, Bryant must complete an OPOTA training program to become certified as a peace officer in Ohio. The amount of training she will be required to do depends on how similar her training in Michigan is to OPOTA’s. Although she is not yet a certified peace officer, she will be allowed to wear the CPD uniform and badge and assemble together a staff to help her lead. The only thing she cannot do is to arrest or shoot anybody.

Both Ginther and Bryant are looking forward to making changes and to repairing the relationship between the police force and the citizens, especially since the dramatic rise in violence in 2021. Bryant stresses the need for teamwork in order to start the journey of healing within the community.

We have a lot of work to do, and I emphasize the word, 'we.' No one person can make these changes.

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