COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is calling for the professional licensing of police officers. Right now, the only way the state can revoke a peace officer’s certificate is if the officer is convicted of a felony.
“There’s no mechanism in Ohio to revoke a certificate for conduct that might be bad, might be horrible but is not necessarily criminal,” DeWine said. “Now is the time I believe to be treating peace officers certificates more like licenses. In fact, they should be licenses.”
DeWine made this announcement during a press conference with Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost discuss efforts to create meaningful change to law enforcement in the state.
DeWine said under current law, an officer can be fired from one agency for racial profiling, for lack of professionalism or for not doing their job well but that officer can keep their certificate and be hired somewhere else.
“The sad truth is many times the new agency does not know the background of that particular officer,” DeWine said. “The vast majority of our officers do a bang up job. They’re out there protecting us each and every day.”
DeWine is also asking the state’s general assembly to create a law enforcement oversight and accountability board. The board will include members of the law enforcement community and members of the public.
“We must begin treating our law enforcement officers like we treat those in other professions. They are truly professionals and we need to treat them that way,” DeWine said.
DeWine said the board, which will be under the Ohio Peace Officers Training Commission, would work with law enforcement experts from across the state and the country to establish standards and a code of conduct for Ohio’s law enforcement as a profession.
The board would be responsible for ensuring that Ohio’s law enforcement officials adhere to this professional code of conduct and if they don’t, the board would have the ability to suspend and revoke a peace officer’s license when necessary.