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Ohio city council clears way for more police retirement buyouts

A recent measure was passed to clear the way for the city to offer six deputy police chiefs a $300,000 payment to retire


Photo/Columbus Division of Police Facebook

By Sarah Calams

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Columbus City Council passed an ordinance last week that will offer another round of police buyout incentives for officers to retire.

Earlier this year, over 200 Columbus officers – from commanders down to patrol officers – applied to leave the department for the retirement incentive program. The news came after the city announced they would offer up to 100 members a one-time $200,000 buyout.

Mayor Andrew Ginther told The Columbus Dispatch that the program was “designed to allow officers an exit if they were not on-board with the vision of the new police chief, Elaine Bryant, as well as other changes.”

“A lot of folks are energized by this chief,” Ginther said. “There are some that are clearly resistant to change and reform and that’s fine. That’s a chance for them to police somewhere else.”

The amount of the payouts for the recently passed ordinance has not been decided, but city council members told The Columbus Dispatch the total cost of all buyouts will not exceed $1 million.

“We’re just supporting the chief in building a new management structure for the Police Division,” council member Emmanuel Remy said.

According to ABC6, the city plans to offer six deputy police chiefs with 25 years or more of experience a one-time $300,000 payment to retire. Ginther confirmed ABC6’s findings, saying, “We think that change, reform, while continuing to grow our Division of Police, are all worth the investment.”

The city is currently in the process of hiring new officers. However, in the meantime, the city has had to boost police overtime with officers retiring in waves this summer.

“I heard [my father’s] stories growing up and saw how much impact it had … I wanted the same thing,” Officer Calyn Dausch said
“I think there’s a potential for danger,” Sheriff Vern Warnke said. “I think there’s a chance for our criminal element to grasp what’s going on”
A tax would be added to create a fund that would allow for minimum staffing limits to be set and increased until the department reaches 2,074 officers
“This was a very dynamic, dangerous and fluid event, and all officers were focused on safely apprehending the fleeing suspect,” Chief Steve Mylett stated