COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – State representatives Phil Plummer and Cindy Abrams are introducing legislation to reform police departments.
Both have a background in law enforcement. Plummer was the Montgomery County Sheriff for more than 10 years and Abrams is a former Cincinnati police officer.
The legislation proposed on Thursday focuses on more than a dozen issues and is the first major law enforcement reform bill lawmakers have tackled in years.
They said the bill would improve the professional standards in police departments by improving training, expanding officer diversity, and implementing better disciplinary procedures. Through those efforts, they said they would weed out bad officers.
“Any chatter of defunding police departments is nonsense, we do not agree with that,” said Plummer (R-Montgomery County.) “Law enforcement is a vital part of our community. We hold them to high standards, let’s properly pay and train them, and let’s treat them like the human beings they are.”
Some key components of the bill include:
- Hiring more minority officers
- Terminating an officer when they are convicted of a violent crime
- Mandating statewide policies that are handed down by an oversight committee
- Examining issues related to excessive use of force
- Ensuring professional police practices
Plummer said they currently have the Ohio Police Community Advisory Board, but only 65 percent of departments go by it.
“Cincinnati may have a different pursuit policy than Dayton,” said Plummer. “So as they’re chasing a car north on I-75, they may be able to chase, but my policy says we can’t chase. We need standard policies so everyone is on the same page and they know what they can do, and what they can’t do.”
The legislation also calls for better disciplinary procedures.
Representatives Plummer and Abrams said they want to create a statewide database that notes officer suspensions that are the result of improper use of force or dishonesty.
They also would like the state attorney general to handle all police-involved shooting cases.
They said it will take collaboration from all sides to see real change in law enforcement.
“I’m a pro-union person and I see the value in them, but we’re asking them to come to the table, let’s make the necessary changes, because if you look out your door, we have a lot of people in peaceful protests demanding change,” said Plummer.
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