Gov. DeWine proposes Ohio law enforcement reforms

Shaelee Haaf and Shaelee Haaf

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced a number of potential law enforcement reforms in response to the protests happening across the state and nation. In a press conference held on Wednesday, DeWine asked lawmakers to pass the following proposals:

  • Creating a board of officials and members of the public to license police officers in the same way that teachers and lawyers are.

  • Police departments will no longer be permitted to conduct internal investigations, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation or another outside agency will be expected to conduct an investigation instead.

  • Prohibiting officers from using chokeholds unless “an officer is fighting for his or her life, or protecting the life of someone else.”

  • Establishing a Law Enforcement Oversight and Accountability Board, which would create professional standards and a code of conduct for statewide law enforcement. Thelaw enforcement board would be able to review and revoke officers’ eligibility to work in Ohio. 

  • Creating a publicly accessible statewide database providing information about all instances when officers use force.

  • Requiring police recruits to have a high school diploma and pass a psychological exam. 

  • Requiring all Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers to wear body cameras.

  • Increasing the amount of training officers are required to have. 

“It’s time for us to do it. It’s time for us to get these things done. There is no reason why these issues should not be dealt with,” DeWine said.

However, according to a statement given by Ohio House Minority Leader, Emilia Sykes, black lawmakers weren’t given the opportunity to offer input on the governor’s recommendations. The first time DeWine contacted the Ohio Black Legislative Caucus regarding the recommendations was a conference call a few hours before the announcement on Wednesday. 

“These are not the recommendations of Black lawmakers — far from it. What we want is to uplift the voices of Black Ohioans who we have heard from at protests, community meetings and in everyday interactions. Statehouse Republicans from the governor to the speaker don’t seem interested in truly listening to Black Ohioans. They think they have the answers to hundreds of years of racism, brutality and oppression. They do not,” Sykes said.