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Ohio to review police response to protests, set new standard

DeWine also is creating a new state office to recruit more black and female officers.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio will make sure that hundreds of non-compliant law enforcement agencies meet statewide performance standards, and it will add guidelines to that list for responding to mass protests, Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday.

DeWine also is creating a new state office to recruit more black and female officers.

His efforts follow the death of George Floyd at the hands of police that set off massive protests against racism and police brutality across the state, nation and world.

The Republican governor said he was using his executive power to take immediate action to address concerns raised by Floyd's death and would also work with the Legislature on enacting changes that have previously met resistance.

“We’ll get some things done,” he pledged. He urged all Ohioans to support his push by lobbying their local elected officials to get their police and sheriff's departments to adopt the best practices in the use-of-force, training and other areas.

There is already a community police advisory board that looks at standards and practices, but the governor now wants that group to look into four areas:

  • At what point should police use tear gas, pepper spray and non-lethal projectiles?
  • What is the best tactic to use for a crowd that won't disperse?
  • How can law enforcement prevent journalists from being injured?
  • When do tactics become excessive?

DeWine said just because he wants the group to look into tactics of law enforcement doesn't mean protesters can do whatever they want.

“We are not looking to give a small number of violent protesters a free pass, far from it. What we do want though is for peaceful demonstrators to feel safe when asserting their first amendment rights and for the public to be protected against violence and destruction,” DeWine explained.