Ohio to Award Nearly $500,000 to Boost Law Enforcement Recruitment

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and his Department of Safety Director Andy Wilson have announced that the state of Ohio is awarding nearly $500,000 in funding to law enforcement agencies throughout the state to help aid in the recruitment of new officers.

31 law enforcement agencies in 21 counties will receive the grant funding totaling $445,449 as part of the second round of funding offered as part of the new Ohio Law Enforcement Recruitment Grant Program. The program was created by Gov. DeWine in 2020 to enable police departments throughout Ohio to focus on recruiting efforts.

For several years now law enforcement departments have struggled to recruit, hire, and retain officers. The combination of increases in retirements and resignations, fewer applicants, and negative portrayals of and attitudes toward law enforcement has only increased the difficulty of bringing in new recruits.

According to Gov. DeWine, this funding will help dozens of local law enforcement agencies to accomplish projects statewide to attract new recruits.

Photo “Governor DeWine Attends the Graduation Ceremony of the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s 170th Academy Class” by Mike DeWine.

“Recruitment remains a priority need for nearly all Ohio law enforcement agencies. This funding support will help dozens of local law enforcement agencies carry out recruitment projects aimed at attracting more people into law enforcement careers,” DeWine said.

Law enforcement departments in Allen, Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Lake, Logan, Lucas, Mahoning, Marion, Medina, Montgomery, Morrow, Ottawa, Perry, Stark, Summit, Tuscarawas, Union, Vinton, and Washington Counties will receive funding to assist in their recruitment programs.

Last year, Gov. DeWine awarded law enforcement recruitment grants to 11 counties in another attempt to help remedy this statewide problem.

“Law enforcement is a distinguished and honorable profession, but agencies all over the country are facing serious shortages in new recruits, which is dangerous for the current workforce and for the citizens they serve and protect,” Gov. DeWine said.

Law enforcement around the state has been offering incentives such as high hourly salaries, sign-on bonuses, and more relaxed uniform policies in an attempt to make employment attractive and gain recruits to increase the safety of Ohioans.

A recently proposed bill that is now making its way through the Ohio Statehouse aims to lower the age requirement for an Ohioan to join the police department in another attempt to address the shortage.

In Ohio, applicants must currently be 21 years old to become police officers, but Senate Bill (SB) 53 would lower that age limit to 18. State Senators Michele Reynolds (R-Canal Winchester) and Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson) have sponsored the legislation.

According to the senators, they intend the bill to help address the scarcity of police officers due to the difficulties in recruiting, widespread resignations, buyouts, and regular retirements.

“America is currently facing a shortage of police officers, and Ohio is no stranger to this crisis. This change would permit all communities to appoint police officers at age 18, freeing up three additional years of eligible candidates,” Sen. Roegner said.

SB 53 is currently under review in the Senate Government Oversight Committee.

In the state’s operating budget for 2022–2023, Gov. DeWine gave priority to the establishment of the Ohio Law Enforcement Recruitment Grant Program. The grant program, which is run by the Ohio Office of Law Enforcement Recruitment, has a $1 million budget for the two-year period, with the first round of funding being announced in fiscal year 2022. The $250 million in American Rescue Plan Act cash was allocated to further law enforcement recruitment efforts by Gov. DeWine and the Ohio General Assembly.

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Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Governor DeWine Attends the Graduation Ceremony of the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s 170th Academy Class” by Mike DeWine.


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