Gov. Mike DeWine is moving forward with plans to create what he says will be more accountability and oversight for law enforcement in Ohio. The moves focus on diversifying police forces and getting departments to meet certain standards.
DeWine is calling on Ohio's law enforcement agencies to become certified in standards created by the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board on the issues of use of force and hiring/recruitment policies.
DeWine says about 79% of law enforcement officers are in departments that meet these standards. But more 400 agencies, just under half of all law enforcement departments in the state, have not been certified. He says a report will be posted online, detailing which agencies have and have not been certified.
DeWine is also creating the Ohio Office of Law Enforcement Recruitment to help communities build police forces with more women and people of color.
"Whatever the organization is, it's better when it has diversity, when it has different points of view, people have different backgrounds, they grew up differently. Those things coming together adds strength," says DeWine.
DeWine is also asking the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board to create best practices when dealing with mass protests.
He says he wants the board to focus on four questions:
- At what point in a protest do measures like tear gas, pepper spray, non-lethal projectiles become necessary?
- What tactics and techniques are in fact best practices for dealing with a crowd that is failing to disperse?
- How can law enforcement prevent the members of the media from being injured?
- When do tactics become excessive for a given situation?
DeWine says he will be proposing more police reforms going forward which will likely require the approval of lawmakers in the Ohio General Assembly.
The governor was also asked about the call to "defund the police" which has been gaining more attention around the country after Minneapolis city leaders committed to a similar effort.
DeWine says he wants to work with state and local leaders to continue reforming law enforcement but called the idea of defunding the police "absurd."