The City of Columbus has announced that after more than 40 years of service to the City of Columbus, Public Safety Director Ned Pettus, Jr., officially retires tomorrow.

Pettus spent 35 years with the Columbus Division of Fire, starting in 1977. He rose through the ranks to become the city’s first African American Fire Chief in 2002, a position he held for 10 years.

Mayor Andrew J. Ginther appointed Pettus Director of Public Safety on August 1, 2016. In the five years since Pettus oversaw significant changes in Public Safety. Among them: the addition of body-worn cameras for Columbus Police officers, the installation of the ShotSpotter gunfire detection system in four Columbus neighborhoods, the replacement of Fire Stations 2 and 16, and the opening of Fire Station 35 and Police Substation 1.

He worked with Mayor Ginther on the selection of new leadership for the divisions of Police and Fire.  Along with appointing Jeffrey Happ as Fire Chief, he appointed the city’s first female Assistant Fire Chief, Tracy Smith.  Historic firsts in the Division of Police included the appointment of Chief Elaine Bryant, the first female African American Chief and first external candidate, the creation of the rank of Assistant Chief of Police, the establishment of a Civilian Police Review Board and Office of Inspector General, and the creation of Cadet Programs for both Police and Fire.  The Cadet Programs have helped to dramatically improve diversity in both divisions. In the last year, both the Police and Fire academies seated the most diverse recruit classes in a generation.


City of Columbus, Public Safety Director Ned Pettus, Jr. Announces Retirement  was originally published on