Giving our police quality training

Better training for Ohio police officers may help reduce unnecessary violence between them and members of the public. But merely dictating a certain number of hours of classes on specific topics, as the state is doing, will not be enough.

Attorney General Mike DeWine has announced courses many police officers in the state will be required to take in the future. They are part of an expanded training mandate approved by state legislators.

Formerly, law enforcement officers were required to take four hours of continuing education training each year. That has been boosted to 11 hours annually.

Courses in community relations, use of force in general and “de-escalating” situations involving the mentally ill will be required, DeWine said. The hope is that “officers will develop stronger relationships with members of the public,” the attorney general explained.

That may indeed happen – if the classes are handled properly. That means ensuring quality instructors and curriculum are available to all law enforcement agencies required to provide the training – as well as helping them pay for it. Five million dollars for that purpose is included in the new state budget.

DeWine, having taken the lead in recognizing better training is necessary, now should work to ensure it is effective.