Within the first two months of the certification process, more than 100 Ohio law enforcement agencies have applied and are now undergoing review to fully adopt and implement the new state standards recently established by the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board.
Twelve agencies became provisionally or fully certified by meeting new statewide standards for the use of force, including deadly force, and agency recruitment and hiring. The standards are the first of their kind in Ohio and were developed by the 12-member collaborative in August 2015 as part of the state’s efforts to strengthen community and police relations.
Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware said the city is preparing to make application in the near future.
“These law enforcement agencies are demonstrating a commitment to providing extraordinary services in their communities by engaging in this certification process,” John Born, Director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety and co-chair of the Ohio Collaborative, said.
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. Certifications will continue throughout 2016 and a report detailing the compliance status of agencies will be published in March 2017.
Inside a recent 8-hour training block involving the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office, there were several units including “Police-Community Relations,” “Constitutional Use of Force,” and De-escalating of Persons in Crisis.”
“What this 8-hour block is mainly geared toward is what has been happening in the last year or two,” Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini said. “They want the officers to understand what it takes to interact with the community; what it is the community expects and procedural justice. That’s all they want to know that there has been a procedure followed. They want the officer to make an effort to resolve or solve the crime.”
The Ohio Collaborative and the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services also announced the Change Starts Here Campaign during the meeting. Warhol & WALL ST, a Columbus-based lifestyle marketing and creative development company, created the multi-pronged outreach and education campaign geared to raise awareness about community-police relations in Ohio.
“The Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board’s efforts illustrate the bridging of the divide,” Sen. Nina Turner, co-chair of the Ohio Collaborative, said. “Both the police and the community need each other in order to create communities that are safe, vibrant and confident. We all must continue working towards this goal with commitment, transparency and trust, and this campaign is a critical step in that direction.”
Governor Kasich issued Executive Order 2015-04K on April 29, 2015, establishing the Ohio Collaborative to oversee implementation of recommendations from the Ohio Task Force on Community-Police Relations and the creation of the community-law enforcement advisory panel.
For more information on the certification process for law enforcement, the list of certified agencies, the Change Starts Here public awareness campaign or the Ohio Collaborative, its members and the new standards, visit: http://www.ocjs.ohio.gov/ohiocollaborative/ or http://changestartshere.ohio.gov/
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.