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More Than 200 People Apply For Columbus Police Civilian Review Board

Lion statue in front of Columbus Division of Police Central Headquarters.
David Holm
/
WOSU

Columbus has released a list of 206 applicants for the Civilian Review Board to conduct independent investigations into the Division of Police. Mayor Andrew Ginther hopes to choose members and seat the board in the spring.

In November, Columbus voters overwhelmingly approved a measure to create a civilian review board with the power to carry out investigations of alleged police misconduct. Ginther announced the next month that the board would be comprised of nine members who serve staggered three-year terms.

“The board will be diverse in race, age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and a majority of its members must live in the city of Columbus,” Ginther said in December.

Applications for board members closed January 15. Notable applicants include Henry Green’s mother Adrienne Hood, former Columbus Police Chief Walter Distelzweig, and Andrea Morbitzer, who sits on the Columbus Community Safety Advisory Commission.

Of the 206 people to submitted their name, 37 came from zip codes outside city limits. The highest concentration of applications came from the zip codes 43205, 43206 and 43214 – the Near East Side, German and Merion Villages, and Clintonville.

The working group that advised Ginther on the board’s structure also recommended that the review board have broad investigatory powers, including subpoena power.

“The board will receive training and support in important subject matters, like de-escalation, implicit bias, constitutional law, and other valuable topics at the beginning of their terms, and throughout their years of service,” Ginther has said.

The review board will also be responsible for setting minimum qualifications for the new Inspector General, a position created by voters to provide larger oversight of the police department.

However, the exact powers of the Civilian Review Board cannot be finalized until the city of Columbus finishes negotiations with the Fraternal Order of Police, whose contract expired at the end of last year.

WOSU reached out to the FOP but has not heard back.