- By Josh Sweigart Staff Writer
Law enforcement agencies not fully certified in new state standards regarding deadly force and community relations include two departments involved in some of the region’s most recent officer-involved shootings.
The Ohio Department of Public Safety this week said 506 police agencies that represent eight out of every 10 Ohio police officers have complied with the standards, created in the wake of high-profile shootings like that of John Crawford in Beavercreek and Tamir Rice in Cleveland.
Certification on the standards, created by the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board, is voluntary.
Most area police departments are certified, including Beavercreek. Riverside’s police department is among the most recent to become certified.
But some are not, including Moraine and Englewood, both of which had officers use deadly force this year.
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Two Moraine police officers remain on administrative leave pending the review of the Oct. 20 fatal shooting of Dayton resident Jamarco McShann. An attorney for McShann’s family has called the shooting “unjustified.”
Moraine Police Chief Craig Richardson said his department applied to become certified under the new standards prior to the shooting. He said it involved minor tweaks to their policy.
“There was nothing substantially changed in the use-of-force, or deadly use-of-force, policies,” he said. “We expect to be certified by the end of the year.”
An Englewood police officer shot and killed a man in February after a tussle in which the man pointed a gun at the officer, a review of the incident found. A grand jury declined to bring any charges against the officer, who was found to have operated within departmental policy.
Englewood Police Chief Mark Brownfield said his city decided the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board certification wasn’t necessary.
“The Englewood Police Department goes through an annual review by the Miami Valley Risk Management Association (MVRMA) for Police Best Practices,” he wrote in an email in response to questions. “The Collaborative’s standards are encompassed in that review. The Ohio Collaborative’s certification process would be redundant.”
Other area agencies not certified include Germantown, Mason, Sugarcreek Twp. and North Hampton.
Karhlton Moore, executive director of the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services, which monitors compliance, said the standards “have one goal.”
“(It’s) really focused on one thing, and that is to improve relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” he said.
Moore said it’s important that all agencies use the same standards, which focus on things such as when to use deadly force, community engagement, hiring and preventing bias. One standard, training dispatchers, directly addresses some of the issues that arose in the Crawford and Rice shootings, he said.
“The information that was relayed to officers played a really important role in the way those situations took place,” he said.
Crawford and Rice were killed in 2014. Crawford was fatally shot by Beavercreek police at a Wal-Mart, where a 911 caller said he was wielding a weapon that turned out to be an air rifle. Rice was killed by Cleveland police responding to calls that a male was pointing a gun at people; the 12-year-old in fact had a pellet gun.
An advisory board commissioned by Republican Gov. John Kasich created the standards after these and other fatal police shootings in Ohio and nationally.
“We continue to try to work with agencies who have not come into compliance,” Moore said. “Really, this is an opportunity for every agency to kind of lift the bar and make sure every agency in the state is operating at a certain level, and that makes individual officers and makes our community safer as well.”
The Associated Press Contributed to this report.