Ohio works on improving police-community relations

The Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board met for the first time this week to draft standards to help improve relationships between police and communities in Ohio.

COLUMBUS – After deadly shootings involving police in Ohio and around the nation, state leaders are working to address the sometimes-strained relationship between cops and communities.

The Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board held its first meeting Wednesday to begin creating a state minimum standard for the use of deadly force, and for recruiting and hiring.

Carlton Moore, executive director of the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services, says he sees it as part of government’s fundamental responsibility to protect its citizens.

“The best way to ensure the safety of both our law enforcement and our citizens is to create a strong bond and trust between the two entities, so they’re really one entity that really serves and works with each other,” he states.

The collaborative is made up of a dozen law enforcement and community members from around Ohio. It was created in December 2014 by executive order, after a series of incidents including the shooting deaths of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland and 22-year-old John Crawford in Beavercreek. Both were black males, shot by white police officers.

The two minimum standards must be completed by Sept. 3. Members will then draft guidelines that agencies can use to develop other types of policing standards.

Moore adds there also will be follow-up.

“There’s a report that we have to produce by March 31, 2017, that we have to indicate where every single agency across the state is, in adopting the model policies and the minimum standards,” he points out.

The collaborative will work on standards for safety issues, and for educating the public about the challenges police agencies face.