Tuesday Update: DeWine Outlines Action to Improve Law Enforcement in Ohio

COLUMBUS (News Talk 1480 WHBC) – Governor Mike DeWine spoke once again in Columbus this afternoon, providing updates not only on COIVD-19 in Ohio but the continuation of protests throughout the state. Here is a complete outline on everything that was discussed.

Update on COVID-19 Figures

The Ohio Department of Health’s latest report shows daily totals for cases, deaths and hospitalizations are all below their 21 day average. The state now has 39,162 total coronavirus cases. Ohio’s death toll is now at 2,421.

6,620 Ohioans have been hospitalized from the virus; 1,708 have been admitted into the intensive care unit. Over 487,500 COVID-19 tests have been administered in Ohio. The Buckeye State has a positive test rate of around 8%.

Update on Stark County COVID-19 Figures

The state’s latest report shows Stark County’s total case count is up to 827. 170 people have been hospitalized in the county due to the virus. There have now been 103 COVID-19 related fatalities in Stark.

Update on Personal Protective Equipment

As of last week, the state has distributed over 30 million pieces of PPE. Of these, 27.8 million pieces have been shipped to county EMAs for local distribution.

The Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation’s Protecting Ohio’s Workforce- We’ve Got You Covered” program has also sent over 1.5 million face coverings to support and enhance any workforce safety and health efforts businesses already have in place.

Governor DeWine says the state has provided PPE to state institutional agencies to ensure they have a 90-day supply. Also, Ohio is providing PPE to the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services through their Office of Pharmacy Services, to support requests for PPE from state agencies, boards, and commissions.

DeWine added that the state is also looking at longer-term contracts for ventilators and N95 masks. His administration is currently evaluating the results of a recently issued Invitation to Bid for gloves, gowns, and three-ply masks.

Law Enforcement Certifications

79% of Ohio’s law enforcement officers work for an agency that is certified, or is in the process of becoming certified, in Ohio’s use-of-force & hiring/recruitment standards. However, Governor DeWine says the total number of certified agencies is only around half of all of Ohio’s departments.

“Regardless of why some agencies have not become certified, I’m encouraging the 400+ agencies that are not certified to begin working on this process today,” DeWine said.

The Governor has directed Ohio Criminal Justice Services to reach out to these agencies to assist them in any way they can. A report listing Ohio’s law enforcement agencies that have (and haven’t) chosen to pursue certification on these minimum standards is available here.

Keeping Protests Safe

Governor DeWine has also directed the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board to begin developing a new minimum standard on law enforcement’s response to mass protests.

“Through this standard, we want our peaceful demonstrators to feel safe when asserting their First Amendment rights and for the public to be protected against violence and destruction of their property,” said DeWine.

A More Diverse Police Force

The Governor spoke about the importance of developing more diverse law enforcement in the Buckeye State. DeWine said that the state will create a new Ohio Office of Law Enforcement Recruitment within Ohio Criminal Justice Services to help local agencies with the recruitment and retention of minorities and women in law enforcement.