COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine says the state will now fund six free hours of de-escalation, use-of-force and implicit bias training for all Ohio police officers who have not yet received such training.
The announcement came on Wednesday during a press conference alongside Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.
The training announcement came among others, including DeWine asking the Ohio General Assembly to create a law enforcement oversight and accountability board and mandate independent investigations of all officer-involved shootings, and in-custody deaths.
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In response to DeWine’s announcement of increased training, however, I asked the governor and attorney general whether six hours of training is enough to cover everything, and if Wednesday’s announcement was a step toward increased training in general.
DeWine replied by initially saying he knows Ohio police officers need more training.
“Law enforcement officers who I’ve known throughout my career always want more training,” said DeWine. “The training is trying to put that officer in the place of that person who they’re coming in contact with. And, you know, we can’t get enough of that training, quite candidly. You know, there are some training [sic] that’s multiple hours in that area, where the police officer works with people in the mental health community in the local jurisdiction so he or she knows what the resources are in that jurisdiction.”
DeWine continued to explain the goal of assuring all officers in the state undergo at least six hours of said training, speaking of the need to reach all police departments in the state.
“What we’re talking about at least for the first six hours is to making sure every officer, we’ve got roughly 35,000 police officers in the state of Ohio,” said DeWine. “Some from various smaller departments, some from departments where they’re not getting any additional training each year -- we’ve got to make sure that they get this training, and this should be a minimum.”
Yost noted that he does not speak for the governor before sharing his beliefs -- that police training in Ohio should be substantially increased.
“It’s my personal feeling that the number of hours required for the basic training for a police officer is inadequate,” said Yost. “I think that we should be substantially increasing the number of hours required to get the certificate -- which is a longer-term solution.”
DeWine then continued on, emphasizing the importance of “scenario-based” training, while noting the state’s need for funding as he hopes to provide more training for police in the future.
“Scenario-based training is basically trying to replicate as close as you can to what that officer feels and sees, senses in a very tough situation and tough environment,” said DeWine. “If we could get a permanent source of funding, that scenario-type training, you can do more of that scenario training … We frankly need to do a lot more, because there’s no substitute for actual experience. And you don’t want, the first time an officer has to make a life-or-death decision, you don’t want that to be in reality, true. You want it to be in a training exercise...”
DeWine is next set to address the public on Thursday at his coronavirus press briefing.