Ohio House Democrats introduced a bill Wednesday that seeks to implement more training for state law enforcement officers.
In House Bill 706, whose primary sponsors are state Reps. Erica C. Crawley (D-Columbus) and Thomas West (D-Canton), would require police to undergo training in de-escalation techniques, mental health issues, implicit bias.
This bill is part of four criminal justice reform bill the Ohio House Democrats plan to introduce. The other three bills, which have not been introduced yet, address arrest and citation quotas, reduce penalties for certain offenses, and require Ohio to publish misdemeanor data by race, ethnicity, age and gender.
“Failing to act with concrete, systemic changes to our law enforcement agencies and criminal justice system is simply not an option right now,” West said. “As lawmakers, we have to step up and take matters into our own hands. Black Ohioans and other Ohioans of color have waited decades for change and reform. For them, Ohio’s promise has gone unfulfilled for far too long. The time to act is now.”
If this bill passes, any police officer who undergoes this training will have to complete at least 40 hours of training.
“The intent of the General Assembly in enacting this act is to make our communities safer,” the bill says. “This is accomplished by requiring peace officers to obtain violence de-escalation and mental health training, so that peace officers will have greater skills to resolve conflicts without the use of physical or deadly force.”
In the bill, “de-escalation training” is defined as a “method or methods for assessing and managing a situation in order to resolve it with the least use of force that is safe and practicable by a peace officer.”
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost threw his support behind this bill when it was introduced.
“I applaud the legislature’s efforts to provide constructive ideas for a stronger law enforcement community. House Bill 706 would create and fund continued education requirements for peace officers to receive enhanced training on de-escalation strategies, implicit bias, procedural justice and mental health issues and resources. Better training means better officers, improving how law enforcement protects our communities.”
– – –
Zachery Schmidt is the digital editor of Star News Digital Media. If you have any tips, email Zachery at [email protected] Follow Zachery on Twitter @zacheryschmidt2.