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Columbus News

Posted on: July 14, 2023

COUNCIL PREVIEW: City Council to consider enabling police to hire part-time officers

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The Columbus City Council has plenty to discuss when it next meets at 7 p.m. Monday, July 17th.

Among the highlights is deciding to amend City Code by eliminating the reserve police force and establishing a part-time officer unit. Members of the Public Finance, Judiciary and Personnel Committee (Council President Beth Augustine-Schulte, Councilman Troy Hiemer and Councilman Ron Jablonski) all voted in favor to recommend this plan to the Council at a July 11th committee meeting after hearing from Columbus Police Chief Charles Sherer on the matter.

“Our recent staffing woes have forced us to consider alternative staffing measures. I reached out to Brenda Urbanek, director of the Law Enforcement Training Center. She suggests we eliminate the Reserve program and use part-time officers instead,” Sherer wrote in a memo that was sent to the committee and discussed at the meeting.

Sherer said the reserve officer approach is too cumbersome, noting a certified part-time officer can work by themselves and perform all the functions and duties of a regular officer without having to work under their umbrella. The chief noted part-time officers can be used to fill shifts or provide transports, among other things.

In the memo shared with the committee, the chief also indicated the City may have to purchase uniforms and equipment, and that the part-time officers could work no more than 19 hours a week and at least 100 hours per year. Additionally, he wrote in the memo that the City could use the funds allocated to the vacated full-time positions to work for part-time officers.

Councilman Hiemer said days after the committee meeting that he felt pursuing part-time candidates is a creative solution to acquiring additional officers and filling vacant positions, noting he voted in favor of recommending the plan based on all the information Chief Sherer provided.

On July 17th, the Council will also review a Citizen's Advisory Review Committee report of activities in accord with the Columbus Economic Development Plan; and determine the necessity for the extension of the sidewalk along the north, west, and east sides of property located in the southeast corner of 26th Avenue and 38th Street.

There are other items the Council will discuss. Review the full agenda by clicking here.

The City Council meeting takes place in the Chamber/Community Room on the third floor of the Columbus Community Building, 2500 14th St.

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