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Ginther Proposes Over $660 Million To Department Of Public Safety

Mayor Ginther speaking about Safe Streets at the Reeb Center on Columbus' South Side
Nick Evans
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Hiring more police officers and firefighters is one of the goals for Mayor Andrew Ginther in the city's 2022 operating budget.

On Tuesday, Ginther announced his plan to include $660 million in the budget for the Department of Public Safety.

The money will go towards funding more police and fire recruit classes. It would also fund programs like expanding the city's Alternative Response Program, violence intervention programs and partnerships with groups like the Columbus Urban League.

"This is the largest investment in neighborhood safety in our city's history," Ginther said. "But as you've heard today, it isn't just into our department of public safety and into police and fire. A comprehensive neighborhood safety strategy."

He added that everyone in the city has a role to play in making Columbus safe. However, it's not enough.

"But we cannot restore our city to its best and full potential, without first recruiting and rewarding exceptional talent, and equipping our safety forces with the capacity to respond quickly, effectively, and proactively across the entire community," Ginther said.

Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant said it's no secret that the police have been lacking officers. With the city looking to additional officers, Bryant said they are currently reorganizing the police department to have the right personnel to respond to community needs.

"While we need more police, we also need to be open to policing differently. I am committed to that. My team is committed to that," Bryant said. "That includes ensuring that officers are following best practices of 21st-century community policing."

Ginther said he expects to bring the operating budget to the Columbus city council next week, where more details on the full budget will be revealed.

Michael Lee joined WOSU in 2021, but was previously an intern at the station in 2018. He is a graduate from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism where he obtained his master's degree, and an alumnus of Ohio State University. Michael has previously worked as an intern at the Columbus Dispatch and most recently, the Chicago Sun-Times.