COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost recently announced initial steps taken in the redesign of the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA).
To better meet the evolving needs of Ohio law enforcement, OPOTA is sharpening its focus on law enforcement techniques proven to reduce harm in communities. As part of this effort, OPOTA has begun delivery of law enforcement training on topics identified by officers as most-needed. Further, the training is being provided by experts in a manner that will be less costly to law enforcement agencies, taking officers out of their jurisdiction less frequently.
“We listened and are approaching this systematically,” said Yost. “As the first step in the new effort, we’ve re-opened in-person training at OPOTA’s facility in London, Ohio, incorporating COVID-19 precautions. There, we’re doing the things that require those physical facilities, like firearms training and defensive driving. But some other new training we’ve developed can be done online. That’s less expensive for our law enforcement agencies to use and keeps cops closer to home.”
In a video message to Ohio law enforcement agencies describing the first steps in the OPOTA modernization, Dr. Robin S. Engel of the University of Cincinnati School of Criminal Justice and national risk-management and law enforcement training expert Gordon Graham offer support for the academy’s new direction.
“It is critical that we determine what training produces the best outcomes and enhances safety for both officers and citizens, and that we follow that evidence,” Engel said. “The new OPOTA is committed to using the body of evidence that researchers are assembling. That means officers will be trained on tactics that are proven to work.”
The newest online OPOTA course, “BCI Lethal Use of Force and OIS Investigations,” was produced in response to interest from Ohio law enforcement, seeking guidance on best practices followed by the Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation when an officer-involved shooting or other use of force occurs. This example of the new generation of online training can be found on the eOPOTA online platform available exclusively to law enforcement officers.
But because current interest in that training topic is widespread and reaches beyond law enforcement personnel, BCI produced a companion video, “BCI Insights: Investigating Law Enforcement Lethal Use of Force.” This 32-minute presentation is designed to explain some of the same information to interested members of the general public.
“It’s another example of responding in a modern way to a dynamic need,” said Yost. “People across our communities are very focused right now on the topic of police reform. All of us can better understand independent investigations of police when we’re given a first-hand description of how and why those investigations happen.”