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Police & Fire

Police-community relations panel sees urgency rise after Charlottesville

Audience includes law enforcement, community organizations

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    Toledo Police Chief George Kral meets with the community in February.

    THE BLADE
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    In this 2015 photo, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, center, with former state Sen. Nina Turner, left, announces a plan to establish the first-ever statewide police standards for the proper use of force, recruiting and hiring.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

Members of an Ohio advisory panel called on representatives of Toledo law enforcement and the community Monday to help implement the panel’s recommendations for police-community relations in the wake of the Charlottesville, Va., tragedy.

Police-Relations-Ohio-11

In this 2015 photo, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, center, with former state Sen. Nina Turner, left, announces a plan to establish the first-ever statewide police standards for the proper use of force, recruiting and hiring.

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“[In the face] of bigotry and racism, we are united in the progress that our nation has made and that we continue to try to make,” said former state Sen. Nina Turner, co-chairman of Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board, before she asked for a minute of silence for Charlottesville resident Heather Heyer.

Ms. Heyer, 32, was killed and at least 19 others were badly hurt when a car plowed into a crowd peacefully protesting a white nationalist rally Saturday in the Virginia college town. James A. Fields, Jr., 20, of South Toledo has been charged in the incident.

Ms. Turner spoke Monday at a quarterly board meeting and public forum at the University of Toledo main campus. The two-hour forum took place at the multipurpose room in UT’s Health and Human Services Building.

Ronnie Dunn, a Cleveland State University associate urban-studies professor who is a board member, then told the audience of roughly 40 about the board’s standards.

They cover bias-free policing, law enforcement telecommunication training, body cameras, use of force and deadly force, recruitment and hiring, and community engagement.

“Our work is not done,” Mr. Dunn said. “We’ve made significant progress. ... [But] as evidenced by the events of this past weekend, we still have work to do.”

The audience included mainly representatives of city law enforcement, as well as municipal and community organizations.

Dorine Mosley, a member of Civilian Police Review Board of the city of Toledo, who was at the meeting, said the information she got there is useful.

“I came here to be educated about the [advisory] board,” she said. “I should be able to go back to the community and give them a full report. It’s really important because what happened in Charlottesville can trickle down to our city.”

Gov. John Kasich formed the 12-person advisory board in 2015 to help implement recommendations for police-community relations made by a task force formed in the wake of violence that followed police-related shootings, primarily in other states. The board developed state standards to guide law enforcement agencies.

The panel includes six law enforcement representatives and six community leaders, all named by the governor. It also advises the state on policies pertaining to the recruiting, hiring, and screening of police candidates.

Contact Mike Sigov at sigov@theblade.com, 419-724-6089, or on Twitter @mikesigovblade.

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