Demand for Change: Dayton announces work groups to reform police department

DAYTON — After announcing five focus areas to reform the Dayton Police Department earlier this month, city commissioners have announced the working groups that will help with changes.

The five work groups will focus on police oversight, use-of-force, training, engagement and recruitment and promotion.

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“Since the protests over George Floyd’s murder began, Daytonians have shown incredible passion and thoughtfulness about rooting out systemic racism in our community and in our police force,” said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley. “We are looking forward to creating the opportunity for Daytonians to work alongside Dayton Police to shape policy for the Police Department that serves them. Policing affects all communities, but with the focus on racism and policing, we are working to ensure that black Daytonians are front and center in this conversation.

The oversight work group will focus on increasing transparency in the process to report suspected police misconduct and strengthen the city’s Citizen Appeal Board made up of community members. Commissioner Matt Joseph and Montgomery County Recorder Brandon McClain will lead the team.

The use-of-force team will take a look at recent instances where force was used by Dayton police to look for patterns and biases. Those discoveries will inform a review of use of force policies. Commissioner Jeffrey J. Mims Jr. and Willis Blackshear Jr. will lead the team.

Commissioner Darryl Fairchild and Stacy Benson-Taylor will lead a team that will focus on training reform. The team will be looking at continuing implicit bias and de-escalation training for all Dayton officers.

The recruitment and promotion team will be led by Mayor Nan Whaley and Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Gerald Parker. This team will review police recruitment, oversight and the selection process of Dayton police officers. The goal is to better identify any potential issues in new officers and increase diversity within the police force.

An engagement team will continue to deepen community engagement by rank and file officers to strengthen relationships with the people they serve and protect. The team will be led by Commissioner Chris Shaw and Shannon Isom.

Each of the working groups will be made up of community members, Dayton Police, members of the Community Police Council and people with expertise in the criminal justice system. The teams also will be supported by UD law students, city staff and the Dayton Mediation Center.

The city said it plans to announce the entire rosters for each working group next week.

While the city expects the process of the work groups to occur of the next six to nine months, some police changes will be enacted much more immediately, city officials said.