Columbus police chief to step down, focus on his campaign to become judge


Jonathan Rohde

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COLUMBUS, Ind.– Columbus Chief of Police Jonathan Rohde will transition out of his position at the end of the year following an announcement that he will seek the GOP nomination for judge in Bartholomew County Superior Court 2.

Rohde will remain chief through the end of the year. Mayor James Lienhoop will work with Rohde on a transition plan.

“I’ve been humbled to serve as chief of police for the Columbus Police Department for over five years. From working closely with Mayor Lienhoop, I can attest that he is a true public servant who cares about the citizens of Columbus as well as the future of our community. I’ve been honored to work alongside Mayor Lienhoop and will do whatever I can to assist in this transition,” said Rohde.

Rohde was 35 years old when he became the police chief, the youngest the department has ever seen.

“During Rohde’s leadership, the department attained international and state accreditations and reaccreditations, implemented a body-worn camera program and an overdose intervention program, and increased transparency by communicating with the public on social media,” Columbus police said in a Facebook post.

Among his accomplishments, the department says, was implementing a cutting-edge method of law enforcement called Intelligence Led Policing (ILP)

“This innovative style of policing has had a direct result in the city’s historic and unprecedented decrease in property crime,” the department said.

The department has received several awards under Rohde, including the Safe City Award, Traffic Safety Award, Safe Wise Safest City, Security Choice Safer City, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Above & Beyond Award, Agency Leadership Award for drug impaired driving enforcement efforts, and recognition by the Indiana Attorney General’s Office for the department’s overdose intervention program.

Mayor Lienhoop issued this statement:

Jon Rohde is a high caliber police chief and the City of Columbus has been fortunate to have him serve in that capacity for over five years. His forward thinking, and desire to improve the force has led to critical improvements in the department. Rohde’s legal background has helped set the tone for making policy changes which have improved how our police force conducts themselves as they do their job and, his commitment to the police workforce led him to push forward, and support the salary compensation study and implementation that was accomplished in 2018. Public safety is the number one commitment a city makes to its citizens and I have been pleased to work with Chief Rohde for the past 3 ½ years and am proud of his accomplishments during the many years he has worked for the city.

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