COLUMBUS — A proposed resolution before the state Senate formally opposes defunding the police while showing support for victims of excessive force.
“Over the past few months after several horrific examples of excessive force being used on Americans by police, there has been a movement to defund law enforcement,” state Sen. Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, said in her prepared testimony to the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee about Senate Concurrent Resolution 16. “While it is a position held by a small minority, there are still cities across the country that have chosen to all but gut their police departments.”
Much like the rest of the nation, policing is a hot topic in the Buckeye State.
Dwayne Bryant, community advisor for the Civilian Office of Police Accountability and author of “The Stop: Improving Police and Community Relations,” said many people favor defunding the police because taxpayers pay $1.8 billion annually for police misconduct.
“The question is, does the law apply to Law Enforcement?” Bryant said in an email. “Considering well over 30,000 police officers have lost their certification for breaking laws ... it is not surprising that communities across America are calling for the defunding of police. This seems to be more than a ‘few bad apples.’”
Bryant stressed he is not for defunding the police but wants “complete funding” of agencies that abide by the law. Among the changes he wants to see are officers wearing body cameras and undergoing sufficient training, and a board to review personnel files of officers who have shown aggressive behaviors toward citizens.
“When I worked for Johnson & Johnson, we were paid a fair salary for doing our job; however, when we exceeded the expectations, we received a bonus,” Bryant said. “Our salaries were increased because of the exceptional service we delivered to our clients and communities.
In the wake of high-profile officer-involved deaths nationwide, Ohio Republicans and Democrats introduced their own plans to reform agencies across the state. The proposals, to date, have not proceeded quickly.
“We need to have the tough conversations,” Gavarone said. “No one should be subjected to excessive force. But no one should have to fear for their safety because their elected officials cut funding to their police department. Less funding means fewer officers. Less funding also means less training. Less training, without a doubt, will lead to more instances of excessive force.
“We expect law enforcement officers to do their job the right way,” Gavarone said. “That job is preserving public order, peace and individual rights. Defunding the police makes that job impossible and is simply not good public policy.”
— Story courtesy of The Center Square.