DeWine formed the task force after the police shootings of John Crawford III at the Beavercreek Walmart and 12-year-old Tamir Rice at a Cleveland park last year. Both shootings prompted protests and calls for changes with police departments.
A Greene County grand jury declined to indict the Beavercreek police officer Sean Williams, and the U.S. Department of Justice has an open investigation into the shooting. The Crawford family filed a lawsuit against the Beavercreek Police Department, Williams and Walmart.
In Cleveland, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s office is presenting evidence in the November 2014 shooting to grand jurors. They will decide if either Officer Timothy Loehmann, who shot Tamir, or his training officer, Frank Garmback, who was driving the patrol car that pulled up beside Tamir, should be criminally charged.
Basic training hours will increase to 653 hours in 2016, up from 605 hours this year, and Ohio’s 34,000 officers will be required to complete 11 hours of ongoing annual training in 2016 and 20 hours in 2017, up from the current four hours. The additional hours will focus on community police relations, recognizing personal bias, constitutional use of force and dealing with people having mental health episodes, DeWine said.
The state will use Local Government Fund money to reimburse local departments $20 per hour for officer ongoing training. DeWine had recommended 40 hours of annual ongoing training.
DeWine said that the added training in crucial areas reduce the odds that fatal police shootings, such as those that killed Crawford and Rice, will happen. “I think all of this cumulatively will make a difference,” he said.