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Police dog incident leads to call for new training in Ohio

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(The Center Square) – An Ohio lawmaker and Gov. Mike DeWine want the state to create a new law enforcement training center after a police officer recently released a police dog on an unarmed man during a traffic stop.

Sen. Frank Hoagland, R-Mingo Junction, promised late Wednesday to introduce the bill called for by DeWine last week after former Circleville Police Officer Ryan Speakman was shown on video after he released his dog on a truck driver who had surrendered.

The Associated Press reported Speakman was fired Wednesday after being placed on paid administrative leave following the incident. The video also showed Ohio State Troopers telling Speakman to hold the dog back.

DeWine said the incident showed the need for more training, especially for small police departments. He said he would ask the General Assembly for funding to build a new scenario-based training facility.

Hoagland agreed and said he would soon introduce legislation to pay for the Joint Law Enforcement Training Center and training.

“Today’s law enforcement training and tactics must be updated and uniform agency to agency across the state,” said Hoagland, a former Navy Seal. “It is imperative that officers responding to emergencies, whether it is hostage rescue to high-speed chases, should be operating from the same set of standards.”

Hoagland’s bill would require the director of the new facility to be appointed by and report directly to the governor while being approved by the Senate.

It is expected to contain live fire scenario training, a vehicle maneuvering and pursuit training track and a location for aircraft response training. These courses would be taught by instructors from special response teams across the state.

“Whether we are responding to a highway incident, a bank robbery or an active shooter threat at a school, we need to make sure every member of law enforcement from Belpre to Columbus is on the same page from the same set of training standards,” Hoagland said.

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