State sets new standards for police

By Frank Lewis -

While many of the new components to a statewide standard on Bias Free Policing may exist in local police protocols, the state is solidifying the standards by establishing them on a new permanent basis and spelling them out in detail.

Ohio Governor John R. Kasich established the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory board to oversee implementation of recommendations from the Ohio Task Force on Community-Police Relations.

Now the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board (Ohio Collaborative) has established a new statewide standard on Bias Free Policing during its meeting at the Ohio Department of Public Safety last week. This is the seventh standard adopted by the Ohio Collaborative, and states that agencies shall establish a written policy governing biased based profiling that includes the following provisions:

  • A prohibition against biased based profiling in traffic contacts, field contacts, and in asset seizure and forfeiture efforts;
  • Training all agency enforcement personnel in biased based profiling issues and the relevant legal aspects;
  • Corrective measures if biased based profiling occurs;
  • The collection of data on all self-initiated traffic contacts to include, at a minimum, the race and gender of the driver of the vehicle stopped. For agencies that employ fewer than 35 sworn full time police officers, the collection of data does not have to occur until the year 2020; and
  • A documented annual administrative review of agency practices, data collected and citizens’ concerns. This review shall be made available to the public.

“The establishment of the bias free policing standard is another significant step in our effort to strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” John Born, Director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, who co-chairs the Board with former state Senator Nina Turner, said.

More than 450 agencies employing over 24,000 officers (more than 70 percent of all law enforcement officers in Ohio, including agencies and officers in most of Ohio’s metropolitan areas) are either certified or in the process of becoming certified by meeting standards for the use of force, including deadly force, and agency recruitment and hiring.

The first list of all Ohio compliant agencies will be published in March 2017.

The state has partnered with the Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association and the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police to help certify Ohio’s nearly 1,000 law enforcement agencies on a process to ensure that they are in compliance with Ohio’s new standards.

“We are in the process of being certified in the use of force and retention and hiring standards,” Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware said. “We are awaiting the compliance inspection to be officially certified.”

For more information on the Ohio Collaborative and the new standards, visit:

By Frank Lewis

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-3700711

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-3700711