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New Lateral Transfer Cops Give Columbus Police Poor Review

When Mayor Andy Ginther and City Council authorized paying off 200 Columbus Division of Police officers – many of them veterans – a one-time payment of $200,000 to hit the road so city officials could continue rebuilding the Division - they created a massive shortage of officers.

Mayor Andy Ginther addressing lateral transfer officers at graduation.

Recruiting police officers from other departments is one way the city is attempting to fill those jobs. Last Friday, ten Ohio lateral transfer officers graduated from the city's abridged 12-week academy (the traditional academy for recruits is 31 weeks).


Based on the results of a focus group report on the lateral class experience conducted by the Columbus Police Recruiting Unit and Fraternal Order of Police Capitol City Lodge 9 Vice President Brian Steel, until the Division addresses concerns voiced by the first batch of lateral transfers, the city might have difficulty attracting more transfers down the road.


The Sussi Report obtained a copy of the focus group report. According to this report, the focus group's purpose was to "measure the program's effectiveness, identify successes, and discover pitfalls from the lenses of a recruiter and a lateral officer."

FOCUS GROUP REPORT
.pdf
Download PDF • 215KB

The focus group looked at three areas: Recruiting, the hiring process, and the academy. Here is the list of questions they asked the transfers.

  • How did you hear about the CPD lateral program?

  • Have you ever participated in any lateral program before?

  • Why did you leave your previous Department?

  • What made you decide to participate in our lateral program?

  • What were your expectations, if any?

  • What did you dislike about your experience with the CPD lateral program?

  • What was done well with the CPD lateral program?

  • Suggestions for improvement regarding the CPD lateral program?

  • Ideas for incentives? (daycare, moving expenses, sign-on bonus)

  • Would you recommend the CPD lateral program to others you know? Why or why not?

The lateral transfer officers said there was a "huge disconnection and miscommunication" with command staff, recruiting staff, and academy staff in the recruiting process that "resulted in expectations of lateral officers not being met."


They described the hiring process as "chaotic" with last-minute

polygraph tests scheduled, unclear details of the 12-week academy, inability to give their employers a two-week notice, no assistance or support for relocating and moving, and lack of consideration for officers' circumstances.


They complained that academy staff "daily verbalized that Division does not like laterals" and that there's a wedge between the academy class and Division with threats of termination and unreasonable requests.

Transfers said they were not treated like adults and "walked into an unprofessional learning environment."


Some transfers stated that there is no encouragement or support and "they would not have applied knowing what they know now." And many said they would not recommend that officers from other police departments apply to the Division.


On a positive note, transfer officers were pleased with training specific to the Division and police tactics.


The focus group report is on the desk of Chief Elaine Bryant. The Sussi Report reached out to Chief Bryant and the Division's Media Relations Office. I'll let you know if I hear back.


If you have a tip, you can leave me a message at 614 779-1995 or drop me an email at tom@thesussireport.com.


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