Dayton police reform moving forward despite COVID-related budget problems

DAYTON — Dayton city leaders are finding money in their budget for police reform, and new police recruit classes are underway, even though budgets are not yet back to pre-pandemic level.

Due to federal relief funds and higher than projected city revenues, a new recruit class began on November 8th.

More than two dozen police recruits were in the classroom Tuesday afternoon.

>> 2 killed in crash on I-75 north near state Route 725 involving ODOT vehicle identified

The next group of police officers expected to protect the community were learning to protect their own health during their career.

“That’s a really important investment for us to make,” said Shelley Dickstein, Dayton City Manager.

Dickstein told News Center 7 the city made drastic proposed cuts when planning for the 2022 budget based on how many things the pandemic shut down over the last 18 months.

Although, city revenues have rebounded quicker than expected and federal COVID relief money helped make sure the city had a fire and police academy recruit class this year.

>> Local troopers to get body cams this winter; state rollout already underway

It’s also allowing them to go forward with police reform plans.

“HRC( Human Relations Council) has three new positions. Mediation has four to five new positions to help implement some of the recommendations,” Dickstein said.

Those positions are part of the city’s alternative response model to some 911 calls involving mental health and other complaints.

Dickstein also pointed out the police budget itself has an additional 1.3 million dollars for other priority items connected to police reform.

Besides the 142 community recommendations for police reform, the city is also working to make sure the police department climbs up to their full staffing of 365 officers assigned to protect the community.

“Is critical on an everyday basis, for first first responders, were not through a pandemic yet,” Dickstein said.

The recruit class has about seven and half more months to go before they graduate.

The city has another recruit class planned to begin in late summer of 2022.