Columbus Police Chief announces retirement

Columbus Police Chief James Jackson has settled a 1997 defamation lawsuit with the City of Columbus. Jackson said he will take leave starting in late November and retire in March 2009.

Mayor Michael Coleman said he is “pleased” the lawsuit could be settled, and said the city’s Police Training Academy will be named in recognition of Jackson’s career.

“Chief Jackson has had a historic and remarkable career. He has served with distinction and honor,” Coleman said.

In 1996, the Columbus Civil Service Commission charged Jackson with five charges of administrative wrongdoing. The commission said Jackson destroyed a public document and failed to give impartial discipline in a case. Jackson was suspended for five days.

Jackson said former Columbus Mayor Greg Lashutka and the city defamed him during and after that investigation. And Jackson said he was denied free speech rights when he was ordered not to speak publicly about the case.

This is not the first time Jackson announced retirement. In 2001, he said he would leave office in early 2002.

Jackson became the city’s first African-American police chief in 1990.

“It has been a privilege to serve the people of Columbus and to serve alongside the honorable men and women of the Columbus Division of Police,” Jackson said. Jackson joined the division in March 1958 as a patrolman. By 1977 he was deputy chief.

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