Mike DeWine hopes state lawmakers create dedicated fund for continued police training
Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, said he hopes the state legislature will take up the issue of revamped law enforcement training and hiring practices in the wake of the police shooting death of a Black man in Columbus.
Body camera video, released by Columbus Division of Police on Wednesday, revealed the events that led to the shooting death of 20-year-old Donovan Lewis. Police said they were trying to arrest Lewis based on warrants on charges for improper handling of a firearm and domestic violence. The video shows an officer opening the bedroom door of an apartment, then immediately firing his gun at Lewis. As reported by WOSU, an officer is heard saying that Lewis had something in his hands, police officials said that turned out to be a vape pen.
DeWine said he has talked to Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and said the mayor and the police department are to be “commended” for quick release of the body camera video.
“I think transparency and being very open with the public and open with the media, who then can give the information to the public, is very important. I think one of the lessons that we've learned is that, that information needs to go out just as quickly as it can,” said DeWine.
In June 2020, DeWine responded to the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police by unveiling a plan to reform law enforcement training and hiring in Ohio.
That proposal included mandatory psychological testing, a high school diploma for police recruits, more implicit bias training, independent investigations for all police shootings and in-custody deaths, and a police licensure review process.
DeWine’s proposal was followed by other suggested measures by Republican legislators.
But a bill has yet to be introduced in the current General Assembly to enact the proposals mentioned two years ago.
DeWine said the legislature should pass the reforms and emphasized the need for dedicated funding for continued training.
“You can have a small department that can't do any additional training that does not have the money to do it, and can't have an officer gone from that village or township for a period of time when they're getting the training. So coming up with dedicated fund is very important,” said DeWine.
The legislature is on summer break and is not expected to return to the Ohio Statehouse until after the November election.