DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Dayton Unit NAACP invited several state representatives and community leaders to discuss the state’s current response to police reform Monday night.
The “Community Centered Policing: A Force for Change” focuses around getting the law enforcement, community members, media and government officials all on the same page, but most importantly seeks to take major steps in healing our community.
“We need to make sure to have a solid de-certification system in place so that way when law enforcement do not do what they’re supposed to do, we can hold them accountable, take away their license and if need be make sure they never get it back again,” said attorney Carlton Mayers II, founder of Mayers Strategic Solutions, LLC.
Using the Dayton Unit NAACP’s eight point strategy plan, community leaders believe there has been progress healing the relationship between law enforcement and residents but there is still a long road ahead.
“A lot of the times you put stuff out there that can’t be done or takes time, but we’re excited about the fact we’ve been able to meet with most of the police agencies in Montgomery County, about 22, and meeting with us on a continuous basis,” said Rev. Dr. David Fox, the Criminal Justice Committee chair member for the Dayton Unit NAACP. “They’ve been very cooperative and we really appreciate it.”
State Representative and former Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer has proposed a new police reform bill that includes an oversight board and two dashboards that will improve transparency in Ohio’s communities and oversee actions of 26,000 officers in the state.
He says he’s concerned for the future of law enforcement.
“Our officers are going call to call and seeing a lot of negativity and it does bring them down, so we have to lift them up,” said Plummer. “We need to hold the bad ones accountable and lift up the good ones, I have a real concern for the profession. People are leaving it, and then what do we do?”
Dayton Unit NAACP’s eight point plan includes:
- Modify and/or implement a citizens review board
- Create a more transparent process around the accountability of officers who violate citizens first amendment rights
- Create a policy where police officers who discharge their weapon or use excessive force on an unarmed person be suspended without pay during the investigation
- Ensure transparency, accountability, and the safety of the community by placing front facing cameras to record on duty officers as well as place cameras inside police cruisers. Provide video footage of all shootings and arrests resulting in loss of life.
- Include in officer training mental health assessments and knowledge of how to deescalate and diffuse conflict
- Ban the use of knee holds and choke holds on citizens who say they can’t breathe
- Actively vet all applicants and recruit officers who reflect the community they serve
- Psychological evaluations must be used in the application process and the number of diverse applicants must be higher.
Leaders also proposed the “C.A.T. method™” & “Safe T Act” be adopted in Ohio. The C.A.T. method includes components of community empowerment, accountability and transparency to improve relations.
- Community Empowerment entails members being involved in, knowledge of and having 50-percent voting power over all police activities that are directly related to officer’s actions, traffic stops, arrests, military style equipment, how protests should be handled and more
- The Accountability component focuses on the internal and external aspects surrounding an officer’s duties. Inside the department, an Early Intervention System would be set in place that allows a supervisor to monitor an officer’s conduct, policies and training and have the ability to intervene if requirements aren’t met. The system would also give the supervisor the ability to take disciplinary action if needed, including suspending or terminating an officer’s license. On the outside of the department, a Civilian Oversight Authority Complaint Board would be established consisting only civilians who would receive the communities’ complaints and have the power to subpoena materials related to the complaint to investigate. If the civilians find misconduct, they would have the ability to advance action if needed, including suspension or termination of an officer’s license as well
- The last component involves Transparency of data to the public addressing use of force incidents and having all data within the department available to the public
- Safe T Act is similar to Rep. Plummer’s police reform bill proposal. The Safe T includes having mental health professionals arrive with officers on scene or respond to calls and having a community oversight board, which aligns with Plummer’s bill
On Wednesday, April 28, the City of Dayton will be hosting their own police reform committee from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. live at daytonohio.gov/govtv.