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'Far too many people are killed' in police pursuits

• May 20, 2019 at 5:00 PM

COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine recently requested that the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board develop a new law enforcement standard for vehicular pursuits.

“Far too often people are killed or seriously injured because a driver chooses to flee from police,” DeWine said. “I believe a minimum standard for law enforcement vehicular pursuits would help encourage a consistent approach to pursuits, which would be beneficial in instances where pursuits cross jurisdictional lines and could ultimately help save lives.”

Ohio law requires that law enforcement agencies have a pursuit policy, but it does not define the content of the policy.

In 2016, while serving as Ohio’s Attorney General, DeWine created an advisory group on law enforcement vehicular pursuits, which issued recommendations on policies that should be considered when developing pursuit procedures. The recommendations included policies on initiating, continuing, and discontinuing vehicle pursuits to ensure the safety of law enforcement and the general public. DeWine requested that the Ohio Collaborative consider those recommendations when developing the new vehicular pursuit standard.

DeWine requested the new minimum standard during the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board’s meeting in Columbus, where he also announced the appointment of Ohio Department of Public Safety assistant director Karen Huey to serve as chair of the advisory board.

Also appointed were the following three new advisory board members:

• State Rep. Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland)

• State Rep. Phil Plummer (R-Dayton)

• BCI Superintendent Joe Morbitzer

The Ohio Collaborative is a multidisciplinary group consisting of law enforcement, elected officials, academia and the faith-based community. The group was formed in 2015 to work to improve the relationship between Ohio’s law enforcement agencies and the diverse communities they serve.

A total of 445 law enforcement agencies in Ohio have voluntarily adopted the primary standards set by the Ohio Collaborative, which define circumstances for use of force and deadly force and promote equal employment and non-discrimination. Fifty-two additional agencies are in the process of adopting the standards.

The collaborative has also established standards regarding community engagement, body worn cameras, law enforcement telecommunicator training, bias-free policing and employee misconduct.

More information on local law enforcement agencies that are certified by the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board can be found in its annual report.

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