Friday, April 28, 2017

Four out of Five Ohioans Enjoy Protections of Community-Police Standards

Four out of five Ohioans now enjoy improved relations with law enforcement thanks to standards enacted by the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board, the Kasich administration announced Friday in a long-promised report on the certification process for peace officers in the Buckeye State.

More than nine million Ohioans live in 506 law enforcement jurisdictions that have adopted or are in the process of adopting policies on use of force -- including deadly force -- and officer recruitment and hiring.

“It is the officers in each agency who interact with the public, are trained on the standards, and it is their actions and interactions with the public they serve that will shape their relationship,” the report states.
“Buildings do not serve and protect or build relationships or trust. The success of these standards is built one interaction at a time, one officer at a time.”

Co-chaired by Ohio Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director John Born and former state senator Nina Turner, the advisory board comprises a diverse group of Ohioans from law enforcement and community groups as part of Gov. John Kasich’s effort to improve community and police relations. They have approved six peace officer standards to date, including three to be taken up in a subsequent report: body-worn cameras and telecommunicator training, community engagement, and bias-free policing. (See The Hannah Report, 2/17/17.)

Ohio counties range in their adoption of community-police standards. Participating law enforcement agencies in 20 counties now cover 95–100 percent of their populations, including Champaign, Coshocton, Guernsey, Hamilton, Hancock, Hocking, Holmes, Lake, Lorain, Marion, Medina, Miami, Morgan, Noble, Richland, Ross, Summit, Union, Washington and Wyandot counties. Another 10 counties -- Ashland, Athens, Clark, Darke, Erie, Greene, Logan, Montgomery, Portage and Stark -- have 90–94 percent coverage.

Among Ohio’s most populace areas, Hamilton and Summit counties lead with 95 percent of the population covered by community-police standards, followed by Montgomery, 94 percent; Stark, 90 percent; Franklin, 85 percent; Lucas, 80 percent; and Cuyahoga, 61 percent.

All state law enforcement agencies, including DPS, Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Department of Commerce-State Fire Marshal Fire and Explosion Investigations Bureau, Department of Natural Resources, Department of Taxation Criminal Investigations Division, and the Veterans Homes Police Department, have completed board certification, except the House and Senate Sergeant of Arms, which are “in process.”

“We are pleased so many law enforcement agencies have adopted Ohio’s first-ever statewide standards,” Director Karhlton Moore of DPS’s Office of Criminal Justice Services said in a statement. “While this report demonstrates the progress we have already made together, we recognize there is more work to do in strengthening the relationship between communities and law enforcement.”

Nearly 2.4 million Ohioans in 371 law enforcement jurisdictions, however, do not enjoy the protections of community-police standards. Counties with the lowest participation include Williams, 14 percent; Ashtabula, 15 percent; Fairfield, 27 percent; Scioto, 28 percent; Jefferson, 33 percent; Belmont, 38 percent; Columbiana, 41 percent; Madison, 42 percent; Trumbull, 46 percent; and Tuscarawas, 47 percent.

Some of Ohio’s leading law enforcement agencies, moreover, are not seeking board certification. They include Cleveland, Grove City, Hilliard and Sylvania police, among others; Toledo/Lucas County Port Authority Police; and sheriff’s offices in Ashtabula, Fairfield, Madison, Scioto, Seneca and Williams counties.

The community-police collaborative’s full report can be found at www.publicsafety.ohio.gov/links/ocjs-collaborative-report.pdf.
Story originally published in The Hannah Report on April 3, 2017.  Copyright 2017 Hannah News Service, Inc.


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