Updated: Apr 1, 2022
We now have a better idea of what went down during a three-day Columbus Division of Police retreat in February at Nationwide Arena's Founders Club.
Through a Public Records request, The Sussi Report acquired copies of hundreds of emails between the Division's top brass, Intra-Division memos, the retreat's agenda, the Bureau Commander's PowerPoint presentations, and a description of what information Chief Elaine Bryant required those presentations to contain.
The objective of the Division's retreat, based on the emails and documents we spent hours combing through, is clear: Chief Bryant wants to learn what works, what does not work, how to utilize staff and resources better, major issues the Division faces, and how to improve morale in the Division.
Chief Bryant required Bureau Commanders to include in their PowerPoint presentations. (This is verbatim from Sgt. Joe Albert, Aide to Chief Bryant).
The total amount of personnel assigned to each unit in your bureau. She would like to know how many lieutenants and sergeants are in each unit, what their span of control is, and what each lieutenant and sergeant's responsibilities are.
What is each unit's SOP (Standard Operating Procedure)? What is their function? How long has the unit been in existence? Have the personnel in each unit increased or decreased over the past couple of years? Do you believe you have enough people, too many people, or not enough people in each unit?
What is your vision/goal for the unit? How would you improve morale and productivity within each unit?
For Patrol Commanders: A breakdown of runs for service for each precinct/shift versus how many personnel are assigned to each precinct/shift. How many assignments are vacant on each precinct/shift?
For Investigative Commanders: How many detectives are in each unit? How many cases did that unit get in 2021? How many cases did each detective in that unit get in 2021? What were the closure rates for the unit?
Chief Bryant also required each Bureau Commander to identify their bureau's "largest issues" and offer "at least three viable solutions."
We discovered a few interesting nuggets we want to share with you during our investigation.
In an Intra-Divisional memo from Deputy Chief Kelly Weiner to Chief Elaine Bryant on February 23, Deputy Chief Weiner expressed concern about a staff shortage in the Special Victims Bureau. "There are 84 detective positions authorized in the bureau and we are currently staffed with 75 detectives. This shortage is reaching a critical point," wrote Deputy Chief Weiner.
Fraternal Order of Police Capital City Lodge #9 representatives could only attend the Bureau Commanders' PowerPoint presentations. In an email from Sgt. Joe Albert, Aide to Chief Bryant, to FOP representatives Jeff Simpson, Keith Ferrell, and Brian Steel on February 18, Sgt. Albert wrote, "Chief Bryant definitely wants the FOP present but only for all of the Commander presentations which will take us into the afternoon on day one. After the presentations are over, she kindly requests that the FOP not be present for the rest of day one and all of day two."
In an email from Det. David Pelphrey of the Sexual Assault Unit to Deputy Chief Weiner on February 12, Det. Pelphrey wrote, "There are 104 cases pending laboratory results. The crime laboratory is approximately eight months behind. This needs to be address."
In an email from Asst. Chief Gregory Bodker to Chief Bryant, 1st Asst. Chief LaShanna Potts, Deputy Chief Jennifer Knight, and Deputy Chief Smith Weir on February 25, Asst. Chief Bodker wrote, "I must say that I was disappointed this afternoon when I started receiving detailed texts from various personnel about what was discussed at the retreat. I hope that I don't need to share that as executives confidentiality is important. We can discuss further upon my return or you're welcome to call this weekend." The Sussi Report requested copies of Asst. Chief Bodker's texts.
Four representatives with 21 CP Solutions, a public safety consulting firm, visited the Columbus Division of Police on March 14, 15, and 16.
Recommendation to increase patrols in North and South Subdivisions during peak hours (2 p.m. to 3 a.m.).
Recommendation that officers in the North and South Subdivisions no longer respond to traffic and hit-skip accidents unless they are a hazard; burglar alarms and fireworks complaints unless there is danger; property destruction unless it's a felony.
The Sussi Report learned that there has been a lot of discussion and recommendations exchanged between the Division's top brass. According to copies of emails, Deputy Chiefs and Bureau Commanders had to submit "Next Steps" checklists to the Executive Staff no later than March 7.
Those "checklists" include positions that will be terminated, positions that will be added, plans to relocate offices, vehicle and equipment concerns, labor issues to address, and "other areas of concern or needs to accomplish subdivision-associated tasks."
Our investigation will turn to recommendations that came out of February's retreat and which ones the Division will implement. On Friday, The Sussi Report will disclose recommendations made by a Patrol Subdivision subcommittee to improve morale within the Division, and repair the "damaged relationship between sworn personnel and city officials."
Here is a copy of the retreat's three-day agenda.
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