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Columbus Police make changes to improve service, safety

In spite of Columbus’ shrinking tax base, the city’s Division of Police is looking for ways to serve the public better.

One of Chief Walter Distelzweig’s first actions in the top spot was to examine the department’s current zone and precinct mapping (the “Patrol Reform Plan”). Police response to citizen calls is crucial to their commitment to public service and safety, and only one of several areas in which the chief intends to improve efficiency.

While most of the city’s citizens aren’t overly concerned about internal functions such as precincts and zones, they are most certainly aware of things like response times and the old maxim, ‘never a cop when you need one’. To this end, police personnel will be reallocated to meet peak periods of demand. Bicycle and ‘walking’ officers (once known by another old maxim, as ‘beat cops’) will also be retained, as will a full staff of community liaison officers.

As part of the Patrol Reform Plan, a new precinct will be added, bring the count to 20. Two existing precincts, the 14th (on the far east side) and the 18th (far north end), will be split. Remaining precincts will be realigned to balance workload.

Chief Distelzweig initiated an overall review of operations within the Columbus Division of Police in April 2009. Service calls and other data going back as far as ten years are being examined. The project also included community forums to seek public input on a range of issues and concerns. As components in the larger overall, ongoing effort to make Columbus safer for its citizens, and increase officer safety as well, assessments and changes will continue throughout 2010.

For additional information regarding the effects of cutbacks on police operations, see “How cutbacks affect police operations.”

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