State Task Force Publishes Report on Community-Police Relations
May 4, 2015
In December, Gov. John Kasich commissioned a task force to “address the fractured relationships that exist between some communities and the police dedicated to serving them.” In short, the task force’s recommendations, published this past week, urge a greater emphasis on training, accountability and oversight.
Read the executive summary:
Accountability and oversight:
Action must be taken to ensure that agencies and officers will be held accountable by the communities they serve.
Create methods to establish the public’s understanding of police policies and procedures and recognition of exceptional service in an effort to foster support for the police. Police officers and community members must become proactive partners in community problem solving.
There must be ongoing efforts by law enforcement and the community to build trust and strengthen relationships.
Grand jury process:
The grand jury process shall be reviewed by the Supreme Court of Ohio, the Ohio
Constitutional Modernization Commission, or appropriate governmental authority, as it applies to the use of force.
Recruiting and hiring:
The State of Ohio shall require all law enforcement agencies to adopt, at a minimum, hiring policies. The State will develop a model policy on hiring to be used by law enforcement agencies.
The State of Ohio shall require all law enforcement agencies to adopt, at a minimum, policies including, but not limited to, the use of deadly force, with the goal of enhancing the protection of all lives. The State will develop a model policy to be used by law enforcement agencies.
In order to allow officers to do their jobs safely and effectively, and to protect the public, the State of Ohio shall require a greater emphasis on, and investment in training
The 692-page report goes into detail on those fronts. For example, in the “accountability and oversight” silo: Task force members recommend “creating an ongoing body to continue to review the issue of community-police relations, and to monitor the implementation and progress of the final recommendations that come out of the Task Force. This body should include a cross-section of community members, law enforcement, academia, elected officials, and clergy.”
Other points call for increased police integration in schools and a statewide database of police-involved shootings.
“There is a need to create some mechanism by which the community at large can express themselves,” State Sen. Nina Turner said of the task force’s creation. “The community needs the police, and the police need the community. But people want to be respected.” She said that the state of Ohio has been in a state of emergency for some time now, despite the national focus being planted firmly upon Baltimore at the moment.
Former U.S. Rep. Louis Stokes similarly praised the report, saying that Cleveland must step up to the plate and reform its approach to community relations.
As negotiations continue between the city of Cleveland and the U.S. Department of Justice, the task force report will be a helpful backdrop — provided the city is listening.