Acting Columbus police chief plans to bring change
Quinlan assumed leadership in Columbus Friday.
— Deputy Chief COLUMBUS
Thomas Quinlan gave retiring Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs an autographed Ohio State football on Wednesday. The hand-off was a precursor for the changing of the guard at the Division of Police.
On Friday, Jacobs put the leadership of the division in the hands of Quinlan, who takes over as interim chief while Mayor Andrew J. Ginther conducts a nationwide search for her replacement.
Quinlan, a 28-year veteran of the division, he is eager to put his stamp on the department, even if only temporarily.
“I have real passion about seeing the division succeed,” he said.
Quinlan took over the acting chief position after being the deputy chief for the northern patrol division. He has also worked in the freeway bureau, the sexual abuse squad, as a fraud and forgery sergeant and has worked in the communications and professional standards bureau. He was also the training bureau commander.
Before joining Columbus Police in December 1989, Quinlan worked for Madison Township Police and is a United States Air Force veteran.
Quinlan said he wants to make sure the division focuses on having the best technology to prevent crime and that officers feel supported. He said taking over the division’s leadership was like a weight being lifted off Jacobs’ shoulders and placed on his.
“There’s 2,300 people you have to be responsible for now,” he said. “It’s a lot to take in in one ceremony. It’ll sink in the next few days.
“Although things were going well under Chief Jacobs, if the community needs change, we have to adjust.”
Quinlan has been “instrumental” in working with the safety advisory committee, Ginther’s office said.
“Mayor Ginther ... believes (Quinlan) will take this opportunity to make real advances in the way we police, including a focus on implementing strategies to increase diversity within the Division,” Ginther’s office said in a statement.
Quinlan said he wants to make strides in having the police officers in the division reflect the community they serve and be more transparent with those in the community.
“It’s important to listen to the community and be available to listen to concerns,” he said.
Quinlan said he intends to be “very aggressive” in determining how to discipline officers who step out of line and to be more transparent with the community in how police matters are handled.
One of his first orders of business will be creating a designation to have someone as the person in charge 24 hours a day, instead of the current situation where in emergencies, there is a potential scramble to identify the highest-ranking officer on duty.
He said he also wants to be fully briefed on the status of the FBI Public Corruption Task Force’s investigation into the vice unit, which has been under scrutiny following the high-profile July arrest of Stephanie Clifford, better known as adult film actress Stormy Daniels, and a subsequent lawsuit filed by Clifford against the vice unit officers involved.
The vice unit continues to be limited in their enforcement efforts as the FBI investigates the unit. Three officers within the unit have been relieved of duty since September.
Quinlan said he hopes the investigation doesn’t make officers within his division feel ashamed.
“I want officers to hold their chin up high and wear their badge proudly,” he said.
Interim Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quilan has his daughters, Cassie, 15, and Mackenzie, 22, right, add stars to his uniform while wife, Jennifer, watches after his swearing in ceremony Friday.