Governor Mike DeWine has announced the development of a new statewide minimum standard for law enforcement officers’ response to mass protests and demonstrations. The governor also announced changes to Ohio’s minimum standard for use of deadly force which now largely prohibits chokeholds and similar maneuvers.
The new and modified standards were adopted during today’s virtual meeting of the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board. DeWine called for the collaborative to address chokeholds and mass protests in response to the death of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that followed.
“We must rebuild trust between the public and law enforcement, and these changes continue to build on Ohio’s work to improve community-police relations,” DeWine said. “Law enforcement agencies that are certified in the Ohio Collaborative’s standards show commitment to following, and oftentimes exceeding, Ohio’s best practices for serving and protecting our diverse communities.”
Law enforcement agencies seeking certification or recertification in the Collaborative’s primary standards must now prohibit the use of chokeholds or other vascular neck restraints in all circumstances except when officers are justified in using deadly force to defend themselves or others from serious physical injury or death.
To gain certification in the new mass protest standard, agencies must develop a policy that protects public and officer safety while also upholding the constitutional rights of expression, assembly, and freedom of the press. The policy should restrict the fewest freedoms possible; limit the use of force, coercion, and intrusiveness; target only harmful behaviors and conditions; and deploy predictable and unbiased tactics.
The Ohio Collaborative was formed in 2015 to create uniform minimum standards for Ohio’s law enforcement agencies covering use of force, including deadly force, and hiring and recruitment. 471 law enforcement agencies in Ohio have voluntarily complied with these primary minimum standards, and an additional 113 agencies are in the process of certification. These agencies employ 94 percent of all of Ohio’s law enforcement officers, a 15 percent increase since June. These agencies serve 86 percent of Ohio’s total population.
Additional standards address bias-free policing, body-worn cameras, community engagement, law enforcement vehicular pursuits, investigation of employee misconduct, and telecommunicator training.
A full accounting of agencies that are currently certified in the collaborative’s primary standards can be found at ocjs.ohio.gov. A listing of agencies certified in additional standards is available in the 2020 annual report.