COLUMBUS, Ohio (FOX19) - Gov. Mike DeWine announced a new Ohio Office of Law Enforcement Recruitment within the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services on Tuesday to help local law enforcement agencies recruit and retain minorities and women.
“This is just my first round of announcements related to meaningful law enforcement reform. Many necessary changes will require legislative action, and we are working on other ideas with the law enforcement community, elected officials, and community organizations,” he said.
DeWine said 79% of Ohio’s law enforcement officers work for an agency that is certified, or in the process of becoming certified, in Ohio’s use-of-force and hiring/recruitment standards.
However, he said the total number of certified agencies is only around half of all Ohio departments.
“Regardless of why some agencies have not become certified, I’m encouraging the 400 plus agencies that are not certified to begin working on this process today,” DeWine said.
He also directed the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board to begin developing a new minimum standard on law enforcement’s response 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,” DeWine said. “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 look at 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, when these tactics should be considered excessive, and how to better protect members of the media from injury, the governor said.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, there have been 39,162 coronavirus cases and 2,421 deaths in the state
DeWine said as of last week, the state distributed over 30 million pieces of personal protective equipment. Of these, 27.8 million pieces have been shipped to county emergency management associations for local distribution.
“We have provided PPE to our state institutional agencies to ensure they have a 90-day supply. And we are providing PPE to the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services, through their Office of Pharmacy Services, to support requests for PPE from state agencies, boards, and commissions,” he said.
The governor said the state is also looking at longer-term contracts for ventilators and N95 masks.
On Tuesday, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) announced that driver examination station skills testing will resume on Friday, June 12.