Ohio AG Dave Yost asked for your opinions on police reform and from the looks of what Governor DeWine announced yesterday, Ohio listened.
Be Heard By The AG
Most people have pretty strong opinions about what’s wrong and what’s right with law enforcement in the State of Ohio. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said he wants to hear them.
He started a Facebook group called “Be Heard By The AG.” He wants Ohioans to share their personal experiences with law enforcement as well as offer suggestions on making changes.
Yost promised his office will closely monitor the group. “We are listening deeply and thinking about what we are hearing,” Yost said. “For those who would rather not wade through the hate that Facebook sometimes unleashes, we created a summary page so you can see what your fellow citizens are saying.”
If you don’t want to participate in the group, you can also email the AG at BeHeardByTheAG@ohioago.gov.
What Citizens Want
Yost said that he has already received more than 50 suggestions. The suggestions are compiled on the Attorney General’s website.
Among the suggestions:
- When an officer mishandles his/her position, charges should be filed. Simply firing an officer means that that officer can get a job at another department and continue mishandling his authority as a cop. Officers should be arrested and tried and, if convicted, should not be able to get rehired by a different department.
- More ongoing training/uniformed training.
- More qualified recruits; a better vetting system; require a bachelor’s degree to become an officer.
- Need more funding to save police jobs.
- Excessive force should be a zero-tolerance policy.
- Ban the use of tear gas and pepper spray on protesters.
- Require police to carry individual liability insurance.
- Hire independent prosecutors to deal with police prosecutions.
- Ongoing task forces that include citizens and victims to monitor accountability.
- Adopt non-lethal practices, stung guns.
- Retrain how to restrain; disallow chokeholds.
- Body cams — increase public access, require them to be worn all the time, don’t allow them to covered unless in the restroom.
- Strengthen police and community relations; fund those areas.
- Violations from any police officer should see a penalty to the entire group’s pension.
- Clean up the streets.
- Give law enforcement officers unlimited access to mental health care.
- Each chief/sheriff must work patrol on the streets or work in the jail at least one day a week.
- Hire more effective defense attorneys.
- No cop should be carrying a live weapon.
Ohio is Listening
Yesterday, Governor Mike DeWine announced his plans for big changes to the way police departments operate in Ohio. You’ll notice that many of his proposed changes can be found on the list submitted by citizens.
Among DeWine’s proposed reforms:
- Mandatory psychological screenings for new applicants
- Use of force and implicit bias training
- Uniform standard for use of force
- Banning chokeholds by police unless it’s a life or death situation
- All police shootings to be investigated by state
- Deaths in police custody to all be investigated by state
- Independent prosecutors to handle cases against law enforcement
- Changes to peace officer licensing
I spoke with Karen Skaggs, whose brother Kevin Bailey died from injuries sustained while he was an inmate at the Scioto County Jail about the changes. Skaggs said, “That’s good news, isn’t it?”