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New law enforcement certifications established

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(The Center Square) – Law enforcement agencies in Ohio can now be certified in the state’s new standards for professional excellence by meeting nearly three dozen standards established to entrust public confidence, accountability and integrity.

Gov. Mike DeWine recently signed an executive order for the new Law Enforcement Accreditation Program established by the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board.

The program is free to law enforcement agencies.

“You can’t put a price on professionalism in public service,” DeWine said. “Every citizen in Ohio deserves to live in a community where its police force is guided by the highest standards of integrity, accountability, and excellence. Accreditation instills public trust and confidence in policing practices, and by offering this new program for free, we’re making accreditation attainable for all agencies no matter how big or small.”

Agencies participating must meet 31 policing standards. Among them are professional conduct, bias-free policing, crisis intervention and community engagement. Standards also address policies surrounding criminal arrests, use of force, vehicular pursuits, appropriate policing of youth, patrol practices, record and evidence management, agency wellness and career development.

“The goal of the new Ohio Collaborative Law Enforcement Accreditation Program is to create meaningful, attainable and sustainable standardization for Ohio law enforcement,” said Karen Huey, Department of Public Safety assistant director and chair of the collaborative. “Establishing an accreditation process also increases transparency for the community and furthers trust in law enforcement practices.”

Participation in the program is voluntary, but officials hope it becomes widespread and creates uniform policing practices across jurisdictions statewide.

“The new accreditation program highlights the importance of implementing minimum standards to enhance public trust and promote effective policing across the state,” Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police Executive Director Donna Harrass said. “This certification will give law enforcement agencies policies and procedures that prioritize community engagement and professionalism. The Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police stands ready to assist agencies in completing the accreditation process.”

The program will start with the Dayton, Dublin, Fairborn, Sidney, Springfield and the University of Toledo police departments, along with the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Mahoning County, Stark County and Van Wert County sheriff’s offices.

When those agencies complete the program, all other law enforcement agencies in the state will be eligible to participate.

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