Over 200 Ohio cops apply for retirement incentive program

"The division is going to have to do something. We are already down several hundred officers," union president Keith Ferrell said

By Suzie Ziegler 

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Columbus Division of Police was already facing low staffing and now it has more reason for concern after 200 cops applied for its retirement incentive program. 

Under a new police union contract negotiated last year, the City of Columbus is offering a one-time $200,000 buyout for up to 100 members, reported WBNS. Now, 200 cops – from commanders down to patrol officers – have applied to leave the department. 

“The division is going to have to do something. We are already down several hundred officers. I question losing another 100 tenured people and supervisors that are tenured and know how to run this place,” said Keith Ferrell, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #9, to WBNS. 

Ferrell’s staffing concerns are reflected in the department’s recruitment numbers. According to WBNS, the Columbus police academy saw 2,600 applicants in 2016 but only 625 in 2021. Also in 2021, only 50 officers were hired to replace the 140 officers that retired. 

Meanwhile, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther told WBNS that he is pleased with the program’s turnout. 

“The incentive is but one strategy intended to better position the Division of Police for the future. As we recognize the contributions of those retiring, we are also working to aggressively hire hundreds of new officers and are pursuing new strategies to allow for well-trained, experienced officers from other communities to join the ranks of the Columbus Division of Police,” Ginther said. “While managing change and transition will be challenging, I have faith and confidence in Chief Bryant’s ability to manage both.” 

The 100 officers who are selected for the program will retire over the summer in staggered waves, according to the report.

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