By Frank Lewis
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has announced the subject matter required for peace officer and trooper Continued Professional Training (CPT) reimbursement in 2016.
In April, DeWine’s Advisory Group on Law Enforcement Training recommended that Ohio increase annual, advanced training for all peace officers and troopers in the state. The Ohio legislature then mandated that all officers take 11 hours of CPT in 2016, up from four hours in 2015, with the subjects of the training required for reimbursement to be determined by the Ohio Attorney General.
“Training is a very important topic when ensuring that the officers we employ are prepared to handle the situations they face in the communities they serve,” Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware said. “It is also important that officers are trained to look for the signs of exploitation of our community’ s most vulnerable populations.”
During the opening session of this year’s Ohio Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Conference in Columbus, DeWine announced that the majority of the subjects required for reimbursement will also mirror recommendations made by the Attorney General’s Advisory Group on Law Enforcement Training in their April report.
To meet the required 11 hours of CPT and to qualify for reimbursement for all 11 hours, peace officers and troopers must be trained on critical subjects next year including four hours of Community-Police Relations with a suggested focus on implicit bias, procedural justice, and Blue Courage; Two hours of Crisis De-Escalation with a required focus on mental illness; two hours of Constitutional Use of Force and an hour of Human Trafficking Update.
All peace officers and troopers must also take two training hours related to any law enforcement topic.
“The Increase of training in areas of critical incident de-escalation and dealing with those suffering a mental health crisis, coupled with use of force training is critical in reducing the number of confrontations that often end in the death of a citizen. This legislation helps to provide the required trainings officers need without the burden of an unfunded mandate, which many agencies struggle to provide,” Ware said.
The Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA), which is a division of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, is currently developing new courses that law enforcement can take to satisfy the requirements for reimbursement.
“This legislation had significant input from a committee comprised of representatives from law enforcement and community leaders,” Ware said. “The legislation helps to ensure that law enforcement agencies across the state are providing the highest level of police services to communities across the state of Ohio.”
The new courses, which will be available in January 2016, include an eight-hour webcast and simultaneous eight-hour live training that will fulfill the hours required for community-police relations, constitutional use of force, and crisis de-escalation with a focus on mental illness. The community-police relations portion of the course will cover the suggested focus topics of implicit bias, procedural justice, and Blue Courage, which is a national program developed by the U.S. Department of Justice designed to educate officers on the principles and practices of human effectiveness, purpose-driven work, resilience, positive attitude and sound judgment. Ohio will soon be the first state in the country to offer Blue Courage as advanced training and to also require it as part of basic training.
A new OPOTA course focusing on the latest strategies for investigating and identifying human trafficking is also currently in development, as are a number of new general law enforcement training courses.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.