An Ohio state task force announced Thursday that the police could reduce inappropriate police violence by imposing new law enforcement training standards and overhauling the state police academy system.
Cleveland.com reported that the recommendations came from a study group created by Attorney General Mike DeWine after a number of police-involved deaths of black people in Ohio and around the U.S.
“Even if half of them are implemented, that will, I think, have a demonstrated reduction of uses of force in the state,” said Reginald Wilkinson, head of the 15-member taskforce and former state prisons director.
For the changes to take place, state lawmakers will have to appropriate the funds for additional police training and the recommendations will need to be implemented by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission.
Currently, the state ranks 38th in the nation in the number of continuing education hours required for officers. The taskforce has strongly suggested that officers receive advanced training on new laws, mental-health issues and building community relationships.
In addition, the taskforce recommended the following changes:
Increase basic training hours: While the taskforce did not outline a specific number, it did recommend adding courses on making good decisions in stressful situations, overcoming personal biases, and how to interact with individuals with mental-health issues.
Reduce number of police training academies: Ohio currently has 62 police academies. The taskforce recommended several be closed, bringing the total somewhere between 10 to 24, in an effort to provide better all-around training.
Yearly review of force policy: Members of the taskforce highly recommended the police department review its use-of-force policy every year and revise it appropriately.
Raise required continuing education credit requirements: Instead of 4 hours, the taskforce recommended that officers take at least 40 hours of continued education per year.
DeWine agreed that funding is a major issue, but stated he would work to educate legislative leaders about the importance of the changes. “It is not cheap, but it is imperative that we do it,” he said.
Ohio has over 37,000 officers and requiring officers to take 40 hours of continuing education per year could cost tens of millions of dollars every year.