Akron native named first female, African-American police chief at OSU

COLUMBUS-– She may be soft spoken, but her record as a top law enforcer speaks volumes.

Meet The Ohio State University’s newest police chief Kimberly Spears-McNatt.

"For me,  it's just another day at the job."

Chief McNatt, an Akron native, admits law enforcement wasn’t her first passion.

But this childhood photo awarding her for being on the school safety patrol tells a story of what would ultimately become her future.

“Please raise your right hand. I Kimberly Spears-McNatt. I, Kimberly Spears-McNatt."

Chief McNatt was sworn in last month as the university’s first female and first African-American police chief.

Her husband and son, 15, also present for the major accomplishment in a career that presented many challenges along the way.

McNatt says, "At that time, there weren't too many women in law enforcement so there were a few women who were already on the agency who took us under their wing and helped us feel comfortable in our decision making. Helped us be comfortable in a uniform and let us know that we had something to offer to the agency."

It also helped that the chief already knew the lay of the land on campus, as she is also a proud Ohio State alum.

Chief McNatt's 25-years in law enforcement have been spent here at The Ohio State University. But just 90-days after being promoted to Deputy Chief in 2016, she would be thrust into the national spotlight, for an incident here on campus that turned tragic.

In November of that year, an Ohio State student inspired by ISIS, rammed his car into a group of people on campus, then went on a knife attack.

When he failed to obey orders to drop the weapon, he was shot and killed by a police officer.

Kimberly, the incident commander that day.

"Very grateful for the training that our officer had that day to make sure he not only saved his life but the lives of other students."

Chief McNatt’s vision now, creating new policies, strengthening diversity and continuing to keep the campus safe.

But most importantly, during this black history month, never forgetting the shoulders she once stood on, to get where she is today.

“And I think that's important that we recognize that there are so many accomplishments that have been made that don't want to condense it to one month, it's something I want to celebrate 365-days a year."

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