Ohio capital city announces selection of new police chief

December 18, 2019 GMT

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The new police chief in Ohio’s capital city must address racism within the department’s ranks, including further diversifying the department, the Columbus mayor said in announcing the chief’s appointment.

Thomas Quinlan, a 30-year veteran of the Columbus Division of Police, was named chief Tuesday, winning the job over Perry Tarrant, a former assistant police chief in Seattle. Quinlan replaces Kim Jacobs, who stepped down in February after nearly seven years. She was the division’s first female chief.

Both Mayor Andrew Ginther and City Safety Director Ned Pettus Jr. said Quinlan has been tasked with fighting racism in the community and within the division, The Columbus Dispatch reported Wednesday. Ginther also wants diversity increased among the ranks and policing lined up with community expectations of the department.

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The selection of Quinlan, who is white, upset some activists who pushed for a minority candidate such as Tarrant, who is black. The Rev. Jefferey Kee, a member of Ginther’s search committee, called the selection “the continuation of the same old repressive regime.”

The department has been under scrutiny in recent months because of problems associated with its now-disbanded vice unit.