(COLUMBUS, Ohio)— Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Tuesday provided the following updates in regard to law enforcement reform and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Governor DeWine announced Tuesday the first of several efforts to improve community-police relations in Ohio.
“These new efforts are just the start of our work to improve law enforcement accountability, transparency, training, and minority recruitment,” said Governor DeWine. “We are working with the law enforcement community, elected officials, and community organizations as we continue to move forward.”
Mass Protest Law Enforcement Standard
Governor DeWine directed Ohio’s Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board to begin developing uniform minimum standards related to mass protests.
“When protests morph from peaceful to violent, law enforcement must be empowered to act, but our peaceful demonstrators must also feel safe when asserting their First Amendment rights,” said Governor DeWine. “A statewide standard for law enforcement will be beneficial to help standardize Ohio’s response to large, ongoing protests in the future.”
Members of the collaborative will examine issues surrounding best practices for interaction between law enforcement and crowds that fail to disperse, when tactics involving tear gas, pepper spray, and non-lethal projectiles are necessary and when these tactics should be considered excessive, and how to better protect members of the media from injury.
Ohio’s Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board was formed in 2015 to create uniform minimum standards for Ohio’s law enforcement agencies covering use of force, including deadly force, and hiring and recruitment.
As of Tuesday, 79-percent of all of Ohio’s law enforcement officers work for an agency that has voluntarily complied with these standards or is in the process of certification. These agencies serve 75-percent of Ohio’s total population. However, the total number of certified agencies only accounts for slightly over half of all of Ohio’s departments.
“More than 400 agencies in the state have not chosen to pursue certification showing that they meet these minimum standards,” said Governor DeWine. “Regardless of why these agencies are not certified, I’m calling on them to begin working on this process.”
Governor DeWine directed the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Office of Criminal Justice Services, which oversees the certification process, to reach out to every agency that is not certified in these standards and assist them in moving toward certification.
Collaborative standards also exist for community engagement, body cameras, bias-free policing, employee misconduct, telecommunicators, and law enforcement pursuits.
The 2020 Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board report, which lists the certification status of all law enforcement agencies in the state, is available at http://publicsafety.ohio.gov
Ohio Office of Law Enforcement Recruitment
Governor DeWine also announced that he will create a new Ohio Office of Law Enforcement Recruitment within Ohio’s Office of Criminal Justice Services.
“Ohio must also do more to encourage minorities and women to join the ranks of Ohio’s law enforcement officers – especially in our urban communities,” said Governor DeWine. “The need for more minorities and females in the law enforcement profession isn’t a new concept and many agencies are already doing a phenomenal job, but this new office will help local agencies with recruitment and retention.”
As of last week, Ohio has distributed over 30 million pieces of PPE. Sources of these resources include donations, FEMA, JobsOhio purchases, and purchases by state agencies such as our departments of Administrative Services, Health, and Public Safety using federal CARES Act funds. Of the 30 million total PPE pieces, 27.8 million pieces have been shipped to county EMAs for local distribution.
The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation “Protecting Ohio’s Workforce- We’ve Got You Covered” program has also sent over 1.5 million face coverings to employers to support and enhance any workforce safety and health efforts that businesses already have in place.
Ohio is also providing PPE to the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, through their Office of Pharmacy Services, to support requests for PPE from state agencies, boards, and commissions.
Ohio is currently looking at long-term solutions to PPE supply chain issues plaguing the country. This includes longer-term contracts for ventilators and N95 masks. Ohio is also currently evaluating the results of a recently issued Invitation to Bid for gloves, gowns, and three-ply masks.
GOJO, an Akron-based manufacturer of hand sanitizer, and part of the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance, has been working with JobsOhio and today announced that it is expanding in Navarre and Maple Heights to meet the demand for their products that are helping fight COVID-19.
The projects are expected to create 200 new jobs.
“GOJO is an Ohio-grown company whose products, including its PURELL® products are helping us combat the pandemic,” said Governor DeWine. “These new investments demonstrate the confidence GOJO has in Ohio’s talent, which is hard at work producing and distributing critical PURELL® products used worldwide.”