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Cincinnati police union head: DeWine's police reform bill focuses in the wrong place

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Posted at 10:33 PM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 19:43:56-04

CINCINNATI — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced plans for statewide police reform at his news conference Wednesday evening. Among other measures, DeWine's plan calls for making it easier to track the disciplinary records of officers looking to move within departments.

Cincinnati Fraternal Order of Police president Dan Hils said, to his knowledge, "problem officers" moving from department to department don't present a major problem.

Instead, he said, the focus should be on addressing the gun violence some of Ohio’s largest cities are experiencing.

In the wake of the Derek Chauvin verdict and the death of a 16-year-old girl in Columbus, DeWine said the new bill would focus on transparency and would bring about changes to do so.

“It is a time that, in Ohio, we begin to treat law enforcement like the professionals they are,” he said.

A bill scheduled to be introduced in the coming days, sponsored by former Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer, would bring a long list of new initiatives: a peace officer oversight board, a use-of-force database and an officer-discipline database among them.

“Someone can go from one police department to another, and if they left under bad terms and that officer doesn’t even report that he worked at the other law enforcement agency and it’s clear across the state, one law enforcement agency may have no idea,” DeWine said.

Hils said the focus is on the wrong place and the charge coming from the wrong people.

“It’s literally like politicians are stepping over dead bodies that are taken by criminals to grandstand about police that are not really problems,” he said. “It’s more perceptions than it is true problems.”

Hils said change has to happen on the local level and Cincinnati has already made positive strides.

“That reform is led by (Cincinnati police) Chief Isaac, and that’s where it should be led from, not from a state executive or state legislator,” he said.

Other changes highlighted by DeWine that have been instituted since last summer include a chokehold ban and body cameras for the Ohio State Highway Patrol.