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Police agencies moving to enact state standards
By Bennett Leckrone
(April 1, 2018) — More than 500 law-enforcement agencies have implemented Ohio’s first-ever statewide standards on use of force and officer recruitment and training.
A report issued Friday by the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services found that 82 percent of Ohio’s population is served by agencies that have adopted minimum standards created by the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board, a panel appointed by Gov. John Kasich in 2015.
“This report demonstrates that the overwhelming majority of law enforcement agencies are committed to implementing the standards,” criminal justice services Executive Director Karhlton Moore said. “The collaborative process is working for agencies and, as a result, our communities are better served.”
Standards required to be certified include creating a community engagement strategy, restraining use of force, including deadly force, and taking steps to reduce bias and racial profiling.
The standards allow for the use of deadly force when officers are defending themselves or others from “serious injury or death,” as well as in accordance with related court rulings.
The panel was created in the wake of the killing of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old African American in Cleveland in 2014. Rice was shot by a white officer while holding a toy pistol, which officers said they thought was real. The incident, and others like it, spurred public outcry across the nation.
Moore said data regarding police use of force wasn’t readily available, but his office is looking at ways to collect data from agencies and examine trends in the use of force.
In Franklin County, several agencies have already been certified, including the Columbus Division of Police. The Franklin County sheriff’s office is not yet certified but is in the process of applying for certification.
“As part of our efforts to obtain certification, we reviewed our policies to ensure that they meet the standards of the Ohio Collaborative Board,” Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin said in a statement. “We believe that they do.”