Worthington police required by resolution to notify council regarding protest-related operations

Stephen Borgna
ThisWeek group
The Worthington Division of Police is at 6555 Worthington Galena Road.

Worthington City Council has ensured it will be notified “regarding police operations related to protests and demonstrations.”

Council members voted unanimously Dec. 7 in favor of a resolution requiring the notification.

The resolution solidifies in writing a policy that already has been in place, according to council President Bonnie Michael, but is one council members believe was necessary considering the national discussion the past several months surrounding racial equality and community relations with police departments.

“This is a protocol that we have had in place for many years,” Michael said. “But a lot of people are concerned, especially in the area of the police and all of the national attention and focus.”

Michael said council was open to approving the resolution as a means of reassurance to the community.

“With all of the concerns that there have been in our city regarding the police, it made sense to pass something where we let the public know what we’ve already been doing,” she said. “What that ordinance did was put in writing the protocol that we’ve had in place in the past, but ... we wanted people to understand that these are important, these (are) protocols that we’ve followed in the past and we have solidified that they will continue to be followed in the future.”

Per the resolution, the Worthington Division of Police will need to continue alerting council when its resources are utilized in relation to area protests, such as for traffic control or “simply in a situation-monitoring capacity,” according to city spokesperson Anne Brown.

Brown said Chief Robert Ware asked her to speak on his behalf for this story.

“The council resolution formalizes and provides consistency around notification regarding protests and demonstrations that occur so that council is made aware of police operations related to protests,” Brown said. “The resolution reflects the notice to city leadership that has typically occurred in practice even without such a resolution being in place.”

Michael said council maintains a similar protocol as it applies to all city departments, although the resolution approved Dec. 7 applies only to the police. 

Brown said Worthington was the site of some protests earlier this year after the late-May death of George Floyd in Minnesota while he was in the custody of Minneapolis police officers.

Many of the recurring Black Lives Matter protests were at High Street and Dublin-Granville Road.

However, the protests were not of the same scope and intensity as those during the summer in downtown Columbus that included some encounters between protesters and Columbus Division of Police officers.

“Worthington did experience protests this year, as did most other central Ohio suburbs and communities in the region,” Brown said. “They were peaceful protests (and) nowhere near the size and scope of Columbus.”

sborgna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSteve