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Ohio Police Become Certified in Use of Force

Posted On: February 22nd, 2017   |   Posted by: Luftman, Heck & Associates LLP

Between 2014 and 2016, the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board, commissioned by Gov. John Kasich in 2014, developed new standards for when the police may use force during interactions with civilians. The board also defined when deadly force is necessary and appropriate.

Once the advisory board finalized the state’s new standard for use of force, the state began the process of “certifying” law enforcement agencies across the state early last year. Certification means the agency complies with the state’s new standard. In addition to certifying the nearly 1,000 law enforcement agencies around the state, Ohio intends to publish a report by March 2017 regarding the agencies that have adopted the new standard to improve accountability. Police forces that do not meet the statewide standards will be listed as noncompliant.

This is the first initiative of this kind in Ohio and is meant to improve community-police relations and reduce arrest-related injuries and deaths. However, these new standards do not mean police officers will not intentionally or negligently mishandle situations. If you were subject to police brutality or an unlawful detainment or arrest, contact a Columbus criminal defense attorney at Luftman, Heck & Associates right away. Call us at (614) 500-3836 to find out how we can help.

Ohio’s Use of Force Standard

According to the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board, employees are entitled to use the force reasonably necessary to effect lawful objectives, such as:

  • Completing a lawful arrest
  • Overcoming resistance to a lawful arrest
  • Preventing the escape of an offender
  • Preventing or defending others or themselves from physical harm

The advisory board also a developed policy for Ohio’s standard in regard to the use of deadly force. According to a statement from the policy board, the preservation of human life is the highest value within the state, which means employees must have an objectively reasonable belief that deadly force is necessary to protect life before using it. Deadly force may only be used:

  • To defend themselves from serious physical injury or death
  • To defend another person from serious physical injury or death
  • In accordance with all U.S. Supreme Court and Ohio Supreme Court decisions, specifically Tennessee v. Garner and Graham v. Connor

The collaboration also created standards for telecommunicator training, body cameras, recruitment and hiring, and community engagement.

Many of Ohio’s Largest Forces Are Certified

As of January 2017, the highway patrol and the Cincinnati, Columbus, Akron, Dayton, and Toledo police departments were certified. A number of mid-sized to small forces are already certified as well and a large number of agencies have applied in order to gain certification by the deadline. Many university police departments including Ohio University, Case Western Reserve, Miami University and Shawnee State are also participating in the initiative.

A full list of the agencies that are currently certified can be found on the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board’s site listed by county.

Some Forces Will Not Participate

There are law enforcement agencies around the state that have already said they will not seek certification. Some local forces say this is because they already meet the standards and participating in this program requires time and resources they do not have – particularly after state funding cuts.

Call a Columbus Criminal Defense Attorney for Help

Prior to this community collaboration and new statewide standards, police departments themselves should have had regulations on when to use force. However, police officers can willfully defy these standards or act carelessly or recklessly.

If you were injured or unlawfully arrested because of an officer’s violent or unnecessary behavior, you may be able to use police misconduct within your criminal defense strategy. Contact the attorneys of Luftman, Heck & Associates to learn more about the law enforcement agency in control of your arrest and whether you were the victim of police misconduct. We will analyze your case, explain your legal options, and help you defend your freedom in court.

To schedule a consultation with Luftman, Heck & Associates, call (614) 500-3836.

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