Police reform proposals at the Statehouse

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — For the past year chants for change have been heard across Ohio and the Nation after the death of George Floyd, now Ohio lawmakers are working on solutions.

“We need to really look and work together to address this issue, let’s get out of the politics and into the policy,” said Rep. Thomas West, (D) President OLBC.

Both republicans and democrats agree one thing that is needed is ongoing training for Ohio’s police officers. Republican lawmakers are planning to reintroduce a police reform package that includes funding for training.

“Subject control, implicit bias, de-escalation, all of these things are very, very important and again I want every officer in this state to have the same opportunity for top-notch training,” said State Rep. Cindy Abrams, (R) Harrison.

The package will also include the creation of an oversight board of police officers. A database will also be created to track the use of force and the discipline of law enforcement. Rep. Abrams, a former police officer says she also would like to see the community work on education and communication with law enforcement.

“They get to see the officers as the humans that they are right? So you get to know the officer it’s not just a person wearing a uniform, a badge, and a gun belt,” said Rep. Abrams.

Representative West says he supports the measures in this package but hasn’t seen the details yet. He says despite this positive step forward, lawmakers have taken several steps back this year.

“We’ve taken a different direction, we went the opposite direction, we brought forth stand your ground,” said Rep. West. “I think we really need to think about legislation, the legislation we’re bringing forward, and does that truly make us safe. I would say no.”

Currently, the state budget includes millions of dollars for law enforcement grants. These can be used for body cameras and the recruitment of minorities and women into law enforcement.

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