Ohio board to create statewide use-of-force standards


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio has begun creating the first-ever statewide standards for police use of deadly force, a process involving buy-in both from police departments and the communities they serve, state public safety director John Born said Wednesday.

It shouldn’t matter where people live in the state when it comes to police action, Born said.

“When someone uses deadly force, there should be uniform expectation of when that force can be used,” he said.

Creating those standards is the job of the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board, which met for the first time Wednesday.

The board, created by Gov. John Kasich in April following a series of high-profile police-involved shootings, will establish standards for hiring, recruiting and local community interaction – such as addressing safety issues and educating people on the daily challenges faced by officers.

Its first task: adopting use of force and recruiting and hiring standards by Sept. 3.

The board, composed of police and community members, will issue an annual report on its work and whether local police agencies are following the standards.

The standards are needed to repair a “fracturing” of the relationship between police and communities, said former state Sen. Nina Turner, a Democrat from Cleveland and a board member.

The standards ensure that “law enforcement agencies across the state will know that the time has come for them to do the right thing in a holistic and collective way, and that the public bears a responsibility too to keep the pressure on,” said Turner, whose son is a Cleveland police officer.

Incidents that led to the board’s creation include the Nov. 22 death of Tamir Rice, fatally shot by police while holding a pellet gun outside a Cleveland recreation center; the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old, in Ferguson, Missouri; and the Aug. 5 shooting of John Crawford III, 22, killed by a police officer while holding an air rifle in a Wal-Mart in the Dayton suburb of Beavercreek.

Rice, Crawford and Brown all were black; the officers who shot them were white.

Other board members include Akron police officer Brian Armstead; the Rev. Damon Lynch III of Cincinnati; Ronnie Dunn, a Cleveland State urban studies professor; and Oregon, Ohio, Police Chief Michael Navarre.

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