A new piece of state legislation would increase the amount of training law enforcement officers receive, and law enforcement officials in Delaware County think it’s a good idea.
The legislation announced last month in the Ohio Statehouse would raise the cap on the number of advanced training hours an officer is required to have.
The Associated Press reports Ohio police are currently required to have 605 hours of training, and the bill would allow for the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy to raise that number to whatever it sees fit.
Delaware County Sheriff Russell Martin said he thinks the increase in the cap is a beneficial move.
“I’m not sure if there’s such a thing as ‘too much training’,” Martin said. “Since 2012, this office has increased its training budget and the amount of training our deputies and corrections officers receive is significantly greater than in the past. This is not the result of any recent national news events, rather my belief that we all must continually work to increase our knowledge and improve our performance.”
Delaware Police Chief Bruce Pijanowski agreed and said he is glad to see that Ohio police officials would be setting the requirements.
“The end result will most likely be a boost in the hours required during basic training,” Pijanowski said. “The change will allow them to adjust more quickly to changing issues, which in the long term can only be good for the profession. Training and education are the foundation of a professional police department.”
Powell Police Chief Gary Vest said the changes will not have much of an effect locally.
“We’ve been doing this all along,” Vest said. “It’s an appropriate change. We are always reviewing our training needs. Training is something that should always be examined from time to time.”
Pijanowski said training is the key to good law enforcement.
“We value training at the Delaware Police Department, and have strong in-house training programs in areas such as response to resistance, unarmed self-defense, and vehicle operations. Our training is tailored to meet the specific needs of the department and also to address current issues.”
Martin agreed and said evolving training is key.
“When you hire good people, provide them with quality training, and allow them to grow, you eventually have a top-notch law enforcement agency where the focus is on providing the community with professional and empathetic service.”
The Associated Press reports that legislation would require candidates for law enforcement jobs to have high school diplomas. Officials from the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, Delaware Police Department and the Powell Police Department confirm that all three agencies require their officers to have a high school diploma or GED.
The AP added that the state training academy reimburses police departments for the training the officers receive and funding for police officers to receive training across the state is a challenge. The AP reported Senate President Keith Faber said legislators were working on ways to provide assistance for the extra training.