Rhonda Grizzell named Reynoldsburg’s deputy police chief

Kelley Youman
ThisWeek
Rhonda Grizzell, a community-response bureau commander with the Columbus Division of Police, was named Reynoldsburg’s deputy chief of police on Sept. 30. She will start her new role Monday, Oct. 12.

Rhonda Grizzell, a community-response bureau commander with the Columbus Division of Police, will serve as Reynoldsburg’s deputy chief of police, the city announced Sept. 30.  

Grizzell, a 25-year veteran of CPD, will start Monday, Oct. 12.   

She is the city’s second deputy chief. The post became vacant in June when former deputy chief Curtis Baker was promoted to chief. The position was created in 2018 after the department was restructured.  

Grizzell has worked for the city of Columbus since 1994 when she started as a patrol officer. During her tenure, Grizzell served in a variety of positions, including patrol bureau commander, property crimes bureau commander, training bureau commander, and more than a decade as a patrol officer. 

Since May, Grizzell has served as commander of the CPD’s community-response bureau, which oversees community policing initiatives, including school resource and community liaison officers, recruiting and a new youth services unit. 

She earned a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University, a certificate of completion from the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command and attended the FBI National Academy in 2016. 

In the July 8 cover letter that accompanied her application, Grizzell said Reynoldsburg mirrors many of her own values, including, “respecting all people, recognizing the importance of diversity and inclusion, a commitment to authentic community engagement and transparency.”  

During the Facebook live announcement, Grizzell said she looks forward to “learning the Reynoldsburg way.”  

“I really want to immerse myself in the culture here. The first thing I’m going to do is listen and learn,” she said. “I am just thrilled.”  

Grizzell brings with her 17 years of supervisory experience and was involved in the creation of youth programming, wellness initiatives and the CPD’s therapy-dog unit.  

“I had the distinct privilege of starting the therapy-dog unit and it was probably one of the best things I’ve gotten to do,” she said. “It’s a tremendous tool for law enforcement.”  

She is a member of the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy Associates and the international Association of Chiefs of Police. 

Grizzell will earn a $124,800 base annual salary plus $52,772 in benefits, including health care, dental, health savings account, life insurance and a 19% contribution to the Police and Firemen’s Disability and Pension fund, Reynoldsburg human-resources director Sandra Boller said. 

Requirements for the deputy chief position included achieving a rank of command and a minimum of one year of police-command experience, a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, police science or a related field and completion of advanced training at one of the following:  the FBI National Academy, the Southern Police Institute’s Command Officer Development Course, Northwestern University/Traffic Institute’s School of Police Staff and Command, Public Safety Leadership Academy or Certified Law Enforcement Executive. 

Consultants from the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police assisted with the search. 

A committee that included Mayor Joe Begeny; City Attorney Chris Shook; Councilwoman Kristin Bryant, chair of City Council’s public-safety, law and courts committee; human-resources personnel and representatives from the Fraternal Order of Police and the OACP interviewed four candidates for the job earlier this month. The other three are John E. Dunbar, retired Findlay, Ohio, police chief; Victor S. McDowell Jr., deputy chief of police with the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority Police Department; and  Michael T. Varner, retired deputy director of the Fort Smith, Arkansas, police department. 

Reynoldsburg has 67 full-time officers, seven reserve officers, nine dispatchers and 11 other civilian positions with a 2020 budget of more than $13 million. 

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