News

November 2021

Mayor Ginther Outlines Public Safety Spending in 2022 Operating Budget

Courtesy of Columbus Underground
By Walker Evans
November 9, 2021

Mayor Andrew Ginther has announced that more than $660 million will be allocated to the Department of Public Safety in his proposed 2022 Operating Budget.

This includes funding of three police and three fire recruit classes, adding a total of 170 new police officers and 125 new firefighters in the next year.

New and expanded neighborhood safety strategies will be also funded in part through the operating budget for Public Safety as well as other city departments involved in the city’s Comprehensive Neighborhood Safety Strategy effort.

Key initiatives announced include:

Expanding the Alternative Response Program, which imbeds social workers and mental health professionals in 9-1-1 dispatch to support more precise emergency responses.
Expanding the city’s Safe Streets bike patrol to additional neighborhoods.
Expanding the city’s RREACT, or Rapid Response Emergency Addiction Crisis Team, efforts, which provides follow-up services for opiate overdose patients.
Continuing TAPS, or Teens and Police Service, a program that connects youth with police mentors.
Continuing investments in GVI, or Group Violence Intervention, to advance strategies and resources that reduce violent crime.
Working with city departments and partners like the Columbus Urban League for youth interventions, including the Parent Enrichment Program, a collaboration with the Urban League and Franklin County Municipal Courts to provide enrichment classes to families who have children on the cusp of entering the criminal justice system.
Continuing the work of the CARE Coalition and VOICE—Violence, Outreach, Intervention and Community Engagement—a hospital-based intervention program for victims of violent attacks.
Continuing the funding of My Brother’s Keeper and comprehensive programming in Columbus Recreation and Parks department.
In a press release, Mayor Ginther expressed that the city’s neighborhood safety strategy would address root causes of crime, including poverty, housing, joblessness and food insecurity, with help from city departments and partners.

“Everyone has a role to play in building a safer, more resilient community,” he said.

Ginther noted that in the past year, the Columbus Division of Police has seen an increase in turnover, and that the funding of three new police recruit classes would keep staffing at current levels.

“The officers will be trained extensively in community policing, which is crucial to bridging the divide between the community and the police while addressing the current spike in crime,” he said.

New Public Safety Director Robert Clark also outlined his vision for safety initiatives to address crime and build back trust with the community. His new version of the Comprehensive Neighborhood Safety Strategy was developed with community feedback, insights from law enforcement professionals and data-driven best practices from other cities.

“My 35 years in law enforcement has made clear we cannot arrest our way out of these problems,” Clark said. “We have to find new ways to do old things. That means community engagement, resident involvement and innovative programming that promote health, healing and restoration.”

Last month, Mayor Ginther and city leaders announced a proposed 2021 Capital Improvements Budget. The mayor is set to unveil his proposed 2022 General Fund budget on Monday, Nov. 15.

For more information visit columbus.gov.

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