Columbus, Ohio, Police Chief Thomas Quinlan Steps Down After One Year

Thomas Quinlan stepped down Thursday as Columbus police chief, a little over a year after he assumed the role permanently.

In announcing the move, Mayor Andrew Ginther said, “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.”

Quinlan, 54, had been appointed chief by Ginther in December 2019 after serving as interim chief since the previous February. When hired, Quinlan received a one-year probationary contract. He will now assume a role as deputy chief.

Ginther said that Deputy Chief Mike Woods will serve as interim chief while a national search is conducted for a successor. The city has retained Ralph Andersen & Associates to help with the search, the same firm that was used when Quinlan was hired to replace Kim Jacobs, who retired.

Here is Ginther’s complete 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.

Deputy Chief Mike Woods has agreed to serve as interim chief while we begin our national search for a permanent chief. The search firm Ralph Andersen & Associates will again assist the city in identifying a permanent police chief on an expedited timeframe.

I want to assure Columbus residents that our commitment to change and reform will not wane as we seek the next leader of the Division of Police. In the coming weeks, I will appoint members of the Civilian Review Board that I championed and voters overwhelmingly approved in November. The Board will select an Inspector General, and we will gain civilian oversight of police for the first time in our city’s history. My proposed 2021 budget invests in non-police safety initiatives, including significant increases to mental health, addiction and recovery services and public health and social workers better positioned respond to people in crisis. The City will also invest in next generation body-worn cameras to ensure video and audio evidence is available when needed most.

I remain committed to meaningful, lasting police reform and confronting racism where it exists, advancing social justice so everyone in every neighborhood feels safe.

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SOURCE: NBC4i, Brian Hofmann