DeWine Looking At Stronger Law Enforcement Oversight, Accountability

Jun 3, 2020
Originally published on June 2, 2020 7:20 pm

Gov. Mike DeWine says he's meeting with state lawmakers to address racial disparities and injustice as demonstrators around the state protest the death of George Floyd, who died under police custody in Minnesota and the former officer now charged with murder. DeWine says it's time for government officials to turn the words of the protesters into action.

DeWine says he wants the state to look at improving the law enforcement system with better training and even removing police officers that demonstrate racist behavior.

He suggests a licensing board for police that reviews complaints, similar to teachers and nurses.

"The ability to see if someone has done something that they should lose that license, to have that profession is probably a way that we should take a look at this," says DeWine.

The governor says this can include a review of police officers involved in past shootings.

The Ohio National Guard has sent 100 of its members to Washington, D.C. to assist the district during demonstrations where people are protesting the death of Floyd.

Major General John Harris, Ohio National Guard's Adjutant General, says the service members will be protecting the White House and other national monuments.

As Harris explains, the national guard, which has also been sent to Columbus and Cleveland, is trained in crowd control.

"We use minimum force necessary to complete the mission. We have a wide ray of equipment, a wide, wide assortment of nonlethal systems that allow us to do that," says Harris.

Harris says the Ohio National Guard was called to Washington, D.C. by the U.S. Secretary of Defense who has this type of authority usually reserved for governors.

Harris said the Ohio National Guard is not in charge in Columbus and Cleveland, but personnel are there to support the mayors and the police chiefs in those cities. Harris said some serve in law enforcement already, and are specifically trained for this assignment: "to protect life, to protect property, and to restore order if necessary."

On Tuesday, DeWine also addressed revisions to Ohio's COVID-19 protocols announcing that all postponed surgeries can go forward and the state expects school to resume in the fall. 

DeWine said surgeries can resume if health care facilities can maintain adequate levels of personal protective equipment and supplies. He also said they must create a plan for conserving and monitoring PPE, supplies and equipment, and maintain a reliable supply chain for both non-COVID-19 cases and if there’s a surge. Those facilities must also detail their plans to test patients and staff, and should continue to use telehealth when possible.

And DeWine also mentioned he’s been talking to school leaders because the state "fully intends to have school in the fall...to have kids back in the classroom." But he noted the date of return to school is determined by local school boards.

Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.