Officials with the city of Columbus have rolled out a new safety program designed to strengthen the relationship between the Division of Police and the city's black, immigrant and gay communities.

Officials with the city of Columbus have rolled out a new safety program designed to strengthen the relationship between the Division of Police and the city's black, immigrant and gay communities.

Chief Kim Jacobs announced the recruitment of three diversity and inclusion liaison officers who, in addition to their regular duties, will work closely with those constituent groups and hear their concerns.

"We go to areas where the police are the enemy, truly," Jacobs said during a press conference Feb. 26 at the Neighborhood Policing Center on the Near East Side.

The officers will respond directly to Jacobs and participate in hate-crime prevention, crisis intervention and similar public-safety efforts.

Jacobs was joined by other city officials and representatives from the various groups.

City leaders said they're responding in part to national protests over the use of deadly force by police on minorities in places such as Ferguson, Mo., and New York City.

"Certainly, events across the country draw attention to the need and to strengthen community/police relations right here at home and to remain focused on our ongoing efforts to maintain and build upon the trust between police and the community they serve," Columbus City Council President Andy Ginther said.

The latest effort will start simultaneously with another outreach effort led by Jacobs, who scheduled five public meetings -- one for every police zone -- between Feb. 23 and March 12.

"As the city awaits the chief's findings, I know there are things the division can do today to improve relations with a number of diverse communities in Columbus," Ginther said.

Also at the press conference, Ginther announced the city's intention to spend $250,000 for new and replacement Tasers, Taser cartridges, holsters and other accessories for Columbus police officers.

Ginther said the devices give officers a nonlethal option when use of force is necessary.