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Ex-FBI agent named Columbus public safety director

September 3, 2021 GMT

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A retired FBI agent and Ohio native was named as Columbus’ new public safety director on Friday

Robert Clark was one of 34 applicants for Columbus police chief and, according to Ginther, the lone candidate for the safety director post, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

“When you find the right person, you hire them,” Mayor Andrew Ginther said at a news conference.

Clark succeeds Ned Pettus Jr., who had been safety director since 2016. He retired on Tuesday. Clark assumes Pettus’ mandate to diversify the city’s police ranks.

Clark says his career and interest in helping at-risk youth have been shaped by his childhood in Youngstown, where he grew up living in public housing and foster care homes. His father was murdered in 1980 when Clark was 13. The slaying remains unsolved.

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In his police chief application, Clark wrote that recent events “have reminded and reaffirmed for us that we must deliver to our community, and especially to communities of color, service-oriented police strategies.”

Clark was an assistant agent in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office from 1995 to 2016. He then went to work for a police consulting group in Trinidad and Tobago and was appointed national police superintendent of that Caribbean island nation in 2019.