Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley focuses on social reforms, COVID-19 in state of the city address

DAYTON — In her final state of the city address, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley reviewed 2020. Her address, given virtually, was dominated by COVID-19 and social justice reform.

Police reform is a big issue in Dayton, five working groups are well underway and the Mayor says the city is not only leading the area, but leading the country.

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“I do think it will come out as a national best practice how Dayton has done police reform and I’m really proud of that,” Whaley told News Center 7′s Mike Campbell.

Whaley said she’s looking forward to 2021 and implementing the reforms recommended by five working groups that city put together after social justice protests in the summer of 2020.

Some of those protests happened right on the steps of City Hall, leaving a cloud of tear gas.

She said the city’s leaders and the community stepped forward to work on tough issues, finding ways to make things better for all people.

One of the recommendations that’s approved and identified for funding in Dayton is the police department purchase of body worn cameras for each officer.

A Labor Day incident captured on a body worn camera involved in a trial proved how useful the cameras can be for capturing more of a police-community interaction than just the last few seconds typically captured by citizen cell phones.

But, the Mayor said body cameras are just one part of making sure that Dayton delivers equal treatment for everyone.

She believes it starts with identifying the root problem.

" Declaring racism as a public health emergency, what does that mean for our community and ways we can really get quite in all systems and really focusing on criminal justice system, something that is really life and death for many members of the black community and seeing ways that we can do better,” Whaley said.

Whaley said it’s not just police reform or criminal justice reform, it’s all about housing and the way we deliver medicine as well, including vaccines.