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Government/Politics

DeWine says Ohio needs to fund, not defund, the police

DeWine First Responder Grant
Daniel Konik
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Governor Mike DeWine announces a proposal to direct hundreds of millions of dollars in grant funding to law enforcement and other first-responder agencies.

So, he wants to use $250 million federal dollars to provide more staff, training, programs, and wellness initiatives.

Gov. Mike DeWine says $250 million from the federal government will go to help first responders, mainly police and troopers, who are far more likely to have depression and burnout. And Ohio Fraternal Order of Police President Jay McDonald says officers are more likely to die by suicide than the general public. He says the wellness dollars can help prevent that by connecting officers with the care they need when they need it.

DeWine says police and patrol officers haven't been able to work from home. And he says the pandemic has been particularly tough on them.

“This is clearly not the time to defund the police. This is the time to fund them and in a new, creative way that helps them protect us from the violent offenders," DeWine says.

$75 million will go to wellness programs, with the rest going to new community police programs, equipment, and officer recruitment. When asked by reporters if any of the money could be used to shore up the police and fire pension fund, DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said it was not allowed. Recently, some lawmakers have suggested cities kick more money into that pension plan.

The plan will require legislative approval. Some GOP lawmakers were on hand at the announcement to say they support the plan.DeWine hopes the General Assembly will pass it soon and get it to him so he can sign it into law.

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