New tool looks to increase transparency in law enforcement officers coming to your communities

COLUMBUS — A new tool should make it more difficult for police officers with past problems to bounce from department to department in Ohio.

The tool involving records on law enforcement separations is now available to the public and law enforcement agencies on the Ohio Attorney General’s Office’s website, through the public records section of the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) portal.

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Now the public records section will not list the reason for a law enforcement officer’s separation from a department. It will include things like:

  • An officer resigning while they were in good standing or because they were under investigation, or instead of getting fired
  • Retirement or retirement because they were under criminal investigation
  • If an officer separated from a department because of a criminal conviction or because they were fired

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said police chiefs and sheriffs across the state asked for this change.

For years, News Center 7 has been talking to law enforcement leaders and police reform advocates who have said an officer should not be allowed to simply resign if that officer is in the middle of a disciplinary process. Instead, they’ve said that information should follow that officer to their next job.

Vandalia Police Chief Kurt Althouse, who is also the vice president of the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, has been involved in the discussions with Yost’s office and OPOTA in recent years that led to this change.

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“We want the very best officers that are out there to protect our communities and if there is an individual who does not represent the profession, well, then we do not want them representing our agencies,” Althouse said. “And this is just another way to prevent them from continuing as a police officer or as a deputy sheriff, if they have a record that is less than less than stellar.”

The online database update will also expand officer training history to include all the trainings they’ve finished.

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