DeWine also wants lawmakers to create a law enforcement
oversight and accountability board similar to licensing boards
for professionals like doctors and lawyers, with the authority
to revoke an officer's ability to work as an officer in the
state if necessary.
The governor also called on lawmakers to ban police choke holds
except in life-and-death cases. He ordered the state patrol and
the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation to outfit all
officers with body cameras, and asked lawmakers to find ways to
pay for more body cameras for officers statewide.
DeWine requested that the Republican-controlled Legislature,
which has recessed for the summer, to take up the measures
immediately. Nothing he's proposing is new, and much of it has
been discussed previously, the governor said.
are things that have been around for a long time, and it's time
for us to take action,'' DeWine said.
Under a bill introduced June 11 by House Republicans, Ohio would
create a statewide disciplinary database for violent officers
and require psychological testing for all new police officers.
That bill "is the beginning of what we expect will be a robust
and thoughtful conversation,'' sponsors Rep. Phil Plummer and
Rep. Cindy Abrams said Wednesday in response to DeWine's
Senate Republicans encouraged Ohioans to participate in upcoming
legislative hearings on police proposals. Spokesman John Fortney
said it was too early to say whether those hearings would happen
Rep. Emilia Sykes of Akron, the top Democrat in the House,
criticized DeWine for briefing members of the Ohio Legislative
Black Caucus at the last minute_earlier Wednesday_before
announcing his plan.
She said reforms must go beyond policing, and pushed for support
for a pending resolution that declares racism a public health
crisis in Ohio.
Republicans, from the governor to the speaker, don't seem
interested in truly listening to Black Ohioans,'' Sykes said in
a statement. ``They think they have the answers to hundreds of
years of racism, brutality and oppression. They do not.''
Thousands of people have protested racism and police brutality
in multiple Ohio communities since the death of George Floyd in
Minneapolis last month.
Also Wednesday, DeWine:
• Announced the state will pay for six additional hours of
police training this year on how to deescalate violent
situations and avoid racial bias.
• Asked lawmakers to create a database that would record
all incidents of police use of force.
• Asked lawmakers to require that applicants to law
enforcement agencies pass a psychological test to show they're
fit to be an officer.
DeWine said the independent investigations could be done by BCI,
which is run through the Attorney General's office, or another
agency if needed depending on circumstances.
``It's time that this process becomes automatic and mandatory
for every law enforcement agency in Ohio,'' DeWine said.
It's unclear what practical impact the choke hold ban would
have, since many Ohio agencies already have the exact same
prohibition in place, including the Toledo and Columbus police
For example, a Columbus police rule stretching back several
years bans the holds except ``when the use of deadly force would
be reasonable and when necessary to end the deadly threat and
survive the encounter,'' said spokesman Sgt. James Fuqua.
``In layman's terms, it's an extreme scenario that you have
basically no other option to survive,'' he said Wednesday.
Earlier this month, the governor said the state will ensure that
hundreds of non-compliant law enforcement agencies meet
statewide performance standards. DeWine said the state is also
adding guidelines to that list for responding to mass protests.
DeWine also is creating a new state office to recruit more black
and female officers.
Dave Yost, the state's top cop as attorney general, prefaced his
remarks with a video of a young black man listing off all the
safety measures he was taught to take, from clothes he should
avoid wearing to never leaving a store without a purchased item
in a bag.
"This is not a law enforcement problem,'' said Yost, a
Republican and former prosecutor. "This is a societal problem
with a law enforcement component.''
In 2015, a task force commissioned by DeWine—then attorney
general—recommended Ohio should dramatically increase the amount
of basic and advanced training it requires for police officers
and reduce the number of police academies. Some training was
boosted but no major changes happened with academies.
The same year, an advisory board commissioned by then Gov. John
Kasich created a series of standards on deadly force, recruiting
and hiring, and other measures that departments must follow to
receive a state certification.
As of this month, more than 440 agencies employing more than
25,000 officers, or about eight of every 10 Ohio officers, have
met the state standards, according to the Department of Public
Both DeWine and Kasich's task forces were created after a series
of fatal police shootings in Ohio and nationally.
Also Wednesday, the Ohio Mayors Alliance, a bipartisan group of
mayors of the state's largest urban and suburban cities,
announced the formation of a law enforcement support network.
The committee will help Ohio cities examine, share, and support
efforts to implement the best ways to address racial bias in law
enforcement and improve community-police relations.