COLUMBUS (WCMH)–Wednesday, Governor Mike DeWine spoke with law enforcement leaders about what they believe are growing threats to public safety and how lawmakers can fix them.

This comes at a time when many still want to see reform in the law enforcement communities.

Last summer, people called for change within law enforcement and now sheriffs note they are seeing crime rates rise and their offices are low on staff.
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Ohio has hundreds of millions of dollars from the federal government meant for COVID-19 relief. Governor DeWine announced law enforcement is one place it may go.

“There is about 850 million dollars left in the federal dollars for this year and we need to be coming up with ways to actually spend that money,” he said.

Sheriff Vernon Stanforth represents more than Fayette County as the National Sheriff’s Association President. He said offices across the state and country are trying to combat high rates of overdoses, drugs, and crime with small budgets.

“We have to have the money to pay these deputies to train them to respond to the new types of crimes we’re responding to or the volume of crimes we’re responding to,” Stanforth said.

Governor DeWine said the money can help with things like body cameras and training to aid in the reform that people want.

“I think there is a general consensus that there is things that need to be done, body cameras is only one of those things.”

Sheriff Stanforth said offices are short-staffed and no longer able to practice proactive policing. He believes more funding can curb the hike in Ohio’s overdoses and crime.

“I think that may start curtailing some of the crime we’re seeing in some of our communities by putting officers back onto the street.”

Governor DeWine did not discuss gun reform to help slow the rise in violence across the state,

“There are some people, because of the decisions they’ve made shouldn’t have guns and we have laws in place to do that, we should enforce the laws we have,” said Republican Ohio Senator Bob Peterson from Washington Court House.

The governor said leaders are still in the brainstorming phase of what can be done to solve some of these issues within law enforcement, and lawmakers could begin acting when they return to the statehouse in the coming weeks.