Gahanna police report designed to foster transparency, build trust with public

MARLA K. KUHLMAN
mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com
ThisWeek group

In an effort to be open and transparent, the Gahanna Division of Police has released its inaugural report.

Carrin Wester, city communications manager, said the 55-page document was released June 25.

"As is stated in the report, the Gahanna division's mission statement references building partnerships within our community," she said. "The detailed reporting captured in this report is a means to that end, as trust and transparency are essential building blocks in any successful partnership."

The department's complete mission statement reads, "The mission of the Gahanna Division of Police is to serve and protect our diverse community by building partnerships in order to provide professional law enforcement services that safeguard the lives, rights and property of all."

Jeffrey Spence, Gahanna police chief, said the report, designed to be released annually, is but one effort in an ongoing dialogue of openness and transparency with the community the department serves.

"Through transparency of our operations, we can build bonds of trust and legitimacy in the eyes of the public," he said. "We understand that these bonds are fragile, especially given the recent events in our nation.

"While this report is one of many first steps in an organization undergoing considerable change, we understand there is more work to do and that we need to continually examine our agency's operations to ensure everyone we encounter is treated fairly, with dignity and respect."

Jeff Lawless, Gahanna deputy chief, said the report details the body of work of the men and women of the division of police in 2019.

"It is hoped this report will provide community members insight into how the division manages our duties as a proactive community policing organization, driven by goals and objectives as opposed to an entirely reactive response," he said. "This report provides insight into the five key strategic organizational goals and desired outcomes for policing Gahanna, and this report fulfills part of one objective to have an authentic transparent relationship with the community."

The four additional goals in service to Gahanna residents include:

* Provide safe travel for motorists and pedestrians through Gahanna.

* Pursue excellence in service delivery and be a recognized leader in policing.

* Recruit, hire, develop and promote a professionally trained workforce to deliver exceptional police services.

* Reduce the rate and fear of crime through prevention efforts and impartial enforcement of the law.

Mayor Laurie Jadwin said every police department is representative of a government formed by the people and for all people.

"As mayor, I am proud of the professionalism and compassion demonstrated by the members of our division of police, and my administration is committed to working collaboratively with Chief Spence and the members of the Gahanna Division of Police to assure that every resident of Gahanna receives the highest level of service, protection and safety," she said.

"The publication of this inaugural annual report, offering detailed statistics on critical law enforcement practices and results, further reaffirms the division's commitment to building trust with our residents through accountability and transparency."

The complete report can be found at tinyurl.com/gahannapolicereport.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla