Valley police agencies work to meet community relations standard - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Valley police agencies work to meet community relations standards

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The actions of police officers all across the state have been under tight scrutiny ever since several high-profile cases emerged nationwide, putting the issue of race at the forefront.

Friday, a newly released report shows us how many departments are meeting new community policing standards designed to improve the relationship between officers and the communities they serve.

The new state standards put an emphasis on the proper use of force, deadly force, and recruitment of minority officers.

The standards were put together back in 2015 by a special task force appointed by Governor John Kasich. 

The state challenged departments to have the new practices in place by March 31st of 2017. That's when a list would be made public of which department's have and have not been certified.

The Mahoning County Sheriff's Department is among those that have been certified. Sheriff Jerry Greene says his the department already met many of the standards but have fine-tuned some aspects.

"Now we have a community recruitment program where we go out to job fairs and we're focusing on minority recruitment for our agency," said Greene.

In the 212 page document made public by the state shows more than 500 law enforcement agencies are in the process of becoming certified. That's nearly 80% of all law enforcement officers in the state.

In Mahoning County, 14 of the county's 22 agencies are in the process; including major players Austintown, Boardman, Canfield and Youngstown.  In Trumbull County, 10 of the 23 departments; including Howland, Hubbard, Liberty and Niles. In Columbiana, three of the counties 17 departments; including the sheriff's department, East Liverpool and Salem.

For Sheriff Jerry Greene, the standards aren't just about protections for those they serve, but also an added layer of security for the departments themselves.

"Especially with litigation and all of that. If you get sued. you really need to make sure your policies and procedures are always in place and up to snuff with state and federal standards and making sure that your training is up to snuff," said Greene.

The complete list provided by the state can be found, here.

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