Per the 2010 Census, Columbus is the 15th most populous city in the United States, with a population of 787,033, and is the largest city in the state of Ohio.  Columbus covers approximately 222 square miles, the majority of which lies in Franklin County, but the city also reaches into Fairfield and Delaware Counties. The Columbus Division of Police is a force of 1,827 sworn personnel and 297 civilians, and falls within the top 25 largest police departments in the U.S.

The Division’s sworn personnel have an average age of 42 with an average 15 years of service. The composition of the Division is as follows: White 86.32%, Black 11.49%, Asian .93%, Indian 0%, Other/Hispanic 1.20%. The Division has 1,611 males (88%) and 216 females (12%); females account for 24 (8.3%) of the 290 supervisory positions. The Division is a large family, and many personnel are related either by marriage or birth.



The Commission of Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) was created in 1979 as a means for law enforcement agencies to voluntarily commit to adhering to a body of international “best practice” law enforcement standards. Achieving accreditation by CALEA is an exhaustive procedure that requires continual evaluation of the agency’s policies and procedures as well as demonstration of compliance to the established standards. 

On July 31, 1999, the Columbus Division of Police (CPD) received its initial accreditation award from CALEA and has subsequently received reaccreditation every three years. This international recognition by CALEA is a testament to the professionalism and commitment of excellence by the Division and all of its employees. There are over 900 law enforcement agencies in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Barbados that are accredited or recognized by CALEA. The Columbus Division of Police is the largest municipal law enforcement agency in Ohio and the 5th largest municipal law enforcement agency in the United States and Canada to be accredited.

The Columbus Division of Police is proud to have been selected to host the 2013 Summer CALEA conference July 28 – August 4, 2013.


Canine Unit

The Columbus Police Canine Unit was established in the fall of 1992, with four police officers and a sergeant. In 1998 the unit was expended when Division of Police received a federal grant that enable the unit to add an additional four canine teams, which brought the unit to its current strength of nine canine teams.  All the dogs within the Canine Unit are trained as dual purpose canines which mean they are trained in narcotics detection in addition to performing patrol techniques. Patrol duties include tracking, building, area, and evidence searching. Narcotic detection includes cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine. Since the unit’s inception in 1992, the Canine Unit has trained 28 canine teams for police service, with all but the current nine retired.  These teams have assisted Patrol/Narcotics Units seizing over 109 million dollars in illicit narcotics, and over 15 million dollars of cash and assets.  The unit has made 2,896 felony arrests during this period with less than a 2% bite to arrest ratio. 

The Columbus Police Canine Unit was recently featured in K-9 Cop Magazine (October/November 2010 issue), which highlighted the unit and the new canine facility built exclusively for the canine operational/administrative functions. 

Upon retirement of the canine, each handler has the option of retaining the canine as a family pet.


Citizens Police Academy

In 1997 the Columbus Division of Police created a Citizens Police Academy (CPA) to help educate citizens of Columbus about what officers within their community do everyday. Citizens who have a better understanding of how police officers perform their job and some of the limitations imposed upon officers improve the policing partnership. Since the CPA first began, approximately 450 citizens have graduated from the Academy. Two CPA are conducted each year; one in the spring and one in the fall. Graduates of the CPA become ambassadors for the Division of Police and spread their knowledge of police operations with neighbors, community groups, and other associations. A well informed public enhances officers’ ability to keep our city safe. 

Most CPA graduates continue to show their support of the Division of Police by joining the Citizen’s Police Academy Alumni Association (CPAAA) whose mission is, “We serve the ones who serve.” The CPAAA supports police officers by providing food for officers working Red, White, and Boom, delivering fruit baskets to substations on Christmas Day and planting flowers and trees at substations as part of their “Adopt a Sub” program.

More information about the Citizens Police Academy and the Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association can be found at:

Link to CPA


Columbus Police Helicopter Unit

In 1972 the Columbus Police Helicopter Unit was created and immediately became an integral part of the Columbus Division of Police. Since the inception of the unit over 193,000 flight hours have been flown. Today, the unit averages 5000 flight hours per year with base flight operations of 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. The unit utilizes 6 single-engine turbine MD500E helicopters which are flown by 16 sworn officers and supervisors. The mission of the Helicopter Unit is direct support for ground patrol officers. The base mission, aircraft, flight hours, and personnel make the CPD Helicopter Unit one of the largest municipal law enforcement aviation units in the United States. The unit is critical in suspect searches, missing children and elderly, vehicular pursuits, and assistance through mutual aid to other law enforcement agencies throughout the state of Ohio. Air support for officers underlines the base principle of force multiplication which contributes to the safety of citizens and officers.

In July of 2009 the unit moved its’ base operations to a state of the art heliport. The heliport is 29,906 square feet which includes two hangers that total over 20,000 square feet and an administrative complex of 9,056 square feet. The administrative complex includes a classroom, aviation library, flight operations center, fitness area and supervisory and conference rooms.

Statistically the unit is directly responsible for annual averages of over 300 felony arrests, over 200 misdemeanor arrests, and is first on the scene of dispatched runs approximately 40% of the time with an average response time of 1.3 minutes.  



The Columbus Division of Police SWAT team is one of only 15 full-time SWAT teams within the United States. The section was created in 1974 with the primary mission of addressing hostage and barricade situations. In addition to their primary mission, SWAT members also serve violent felony warrants, conduct robbery stakeouts, perform dignitary and witness protection as well as other high-risk operations. The section is currently staffed with 26 full-time SWAT officers and 10 part-time hostage negotiators who perform other police functions throughout the Division of Police when not actively involved in hostage negotiation duties. In 2009 SWAT responded to 32 hostage/barricades and in 2010 they handled 54 hostage/barricade incidents.

The Columbus SWAT team prides itself on being the best SWAT team in the nation.  To maintain this designation the SWAT section dedicates 20% - 25% of their time training. Because marksmanship is such a integral skill of SWAT team members, designated snipers train every week with their sniper weapons while all SWAT officers train bi-weekly with their assigned M-4 .223 machine guns. 


CounterTerrorism Unit (CTU)

The Columbus Terrorism Early Warning Group (TEW) was formed in March 2006. It is a regional information sharing group that is comprised of police officers, fire investigativors and analysts. Their primary purpose is to gather, analyze and share information regarding terrorist activities in the Central Ohio area to detect and prevent terrorism related activity. The Columbus TEW has been so successful that several other TEW groups throughout the United States have been modeled after the Columbus TEW group. The techniques and methods used by the Division’s TEW group have been studied and copied by several intelligence units across the nation. In 2008 the Columbus Division of Police TEW group led the United States in generating Homeland Security Intelligence (HIRs) - preparing 20% of all the reports generated. The Division proudly boasts that several of the reports generated from the Columbus TEW group have been read by the President of the United States during his daily briefings. Some of the intelligence included in these reports have had international repercussions. Although the details of the activities performed by the TEW group are classified and can’t be shared with the public, the unit has successfully stopped or averted incidents directed at Columbus and the local region.

Additional information about the Columbus Terrorism Early Warning Group can be obtained by calling (614) 645-4510 or email at .


Training Academy

On December 13, 2004 the Columbus Division of Police officially opened the first phase of the Columbus Police Academy and Regional Training Center. This Training Academy is by far the best in the country! Aside from traditional classrooms and lecture halls, the 166,288 square foot main facility houses scenario rooms for experiential based training; a forensics classroom for evidence collection, preservation and processing; physical conditioning center; gymnasium; aquatic center; defensive tactics training rooms; and an auditorium that seats over 500 people.  Work on future phases of the training complex will continue.  The design phase for “Tac Town” and the driving components of the overall project has been completed and awaits funding for construction.  Our training complex is truly a state-of-the-art facility.