City hires consultant to research police oversight committees

Columbus is exploring changes to a civilian oversight committee that hears appeals of police department complaints.

The city plans to look at the current processes tied to the audit and review committee to see if any improvements can be made, said Mary Ferdon, the city’s executive director of administration and community development. The 10-person panel was established by a city resolution in 1992.

The group, appointed by the mayor, is made up of individuals representing organizations such as the local NAACP chapter, Columbus Human Rights Commission and the city police department.

The city has hired a consultant, Lyn Morgan, to perform research on civilian law enforcement oversight committees. Morgan is also being asked to establish benchmarks to see where improvements in Columbus can be made.

Morgan, who most recently served as president of the Centra Foundation, will be paid $30 an hour for her work until June 30 for an amount not to exceed $6,000, according to the agreement.

Complaints lodged by the public against the police department are investigated at the administrative level with a determination eventually being made. The committee becomes involved if an appeal is made by an individual doesn’t agree with the administrative finding, Ferdon said.

Ferdon said the audit and review committee heard one appeal in 2016. Over the past five years, an average of 10 complaints each year have been filed with the police department, she said.

For more on this story, see Tuesday’s Republic.

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or