Tom Gureck is a 26-year veteran officer with the Columbus Division of Police and works for the two SIDs, Capital Crossroads and Discovery, as a special duty officer helping ambassadors keep downtown a safe neighborhood.
Recently Tom worked with Ryan Jefferson, one of the SID’s outreach specialists, to help a young man with an intellectual disability. The man, a resident of Mansfield, was kicked out of the car by his mother who had been drinking and was stranded in Columbus. After connecting with the man’s grandmother, Ryan was able to get the man a ticket on a Greyhound Bus headed to Mansfield.
"Officer Gureck is an outstanding officer. We've been lucky to have him as part of our team for over 15 years," said Lisa Defendiefer, Deputy Director of SID operations, "We can always count on him to respond to our requests for assistance. He is a compassionate problem solver who really understands how to effectively address issues."
The idea to incorporate special duty officers in the SID’s program happened when the Discovery Special Improvement District (DSID) was being formed in 2006. Property owners in the newly formed SID wanted to address concerns about the perception of crime and improve the appearance of the neighborhood.
Specifically, property owners wanted an increased presence from the Columbus Division of Police in the downtown neighborhood with quick response times regardless of the severity of the issues. They also wanted the police officers to work with SID safety ambassadors to provide a friendly, reassuring presence on the street and serve more as “beat officers” for the neighborhood.
Officers work to address problems holistically. They focus their efforts in areas downtown where panhandling, drug activity, open container, intimidating behavior, and other illicit activities occur, and if needed, make arrests and issue citations. The officers also work with the SIDs outreach team to help those on the street get connected to services.
The Discovery and Capital Crossroads SIDs pay Columbus police officers to work special duty assignments for the SIDs on top of their regular assignments with the Columbus Division of Police.
Currently, the SIDs have 13 officers on rotation that provide coverage from 10 AM to 11 PM Monday through Friday and 3 PM to 11 PM on Saturday. The special duty officers patrol downtown in a dedicated Columbus Police 240 Ford cruiser purchased by the SIDs. In addition, special duty officers tour the city center by foot for the Capital Crossroads SID two to three times a week.
2019 SID-tistics for special duty officers:
Special duty officers respond to calls from the SID Hotline: (614) 228-5718.