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AG Yost Announces Task Force Recommendations for the Future of Police Training


(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s Blue Ribbon Task Force today announced recommended multidimensional changes for the future of statewide law enforcement training.

Formed in the fall of 2023, the task force was charged with identifying areas for improvement in basic and continuing peace officer training, determining recommended standards for new officers, outlining expectations for instructors, and establishing new training methods.

“Our goal is simple: Today’s law enforcement agencies need to be ready for today’s problems,” AG Yost said. “Police training in Ohio has been patched together, with a course added here and there to address a timely need. We took a step back so that we could move forward with a wholistic approach. We want Ohio to serve as a national model by offering the best, most relevant training available year after year.”

Yost said training methods established by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) and Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission (OPOTC) have been relatively static for a decade. Meanwhile, expectations have changed and evolving professional demands have created recruiting and retention challenges.

The task force consists of 11 members, a diverse group of experts ranging from career law enforcement professionals to mental health experts and community leaders. The group met with hundreds of law enforcement agencies throughout the state and spent months fact-finding, researching, discussing, debating, and seeking public comment.

Today, with the approval of the Attorney General, the task force released a special report consisting of seven primary recommendations:

  • Amend the Peace Officer Basic Training (POBT) curriculum to reflect contemporary police services.
  • Establish certification levels to reflect an officer’s training and experience.
  • Create a Tactical Patrol Officer Program.
  • Add new technologies while incorporating elements of reality-based situational decision-making scenarios into both basic and advanced training.
  • Develop integrated lesson plans across training platforms.
  • Focus Continuing Professional Training (CPT) so that it keeps advancing police services.
  • Expand annual firearms qualifications.

The report breaks down the recommendations into issues and suggested remedies. The current OPOTC curriculum requires a minimum of 740 hours for peace officers to receive a certificate. Within the required curriculum, however, some courses being taught do not add sufficient value to the basic education of a new officer. Notably, the task force recommends the substitution of the following 72 hours of coursework to replace outdated requirements in the basic academy curriculum:

  • Basic & Interpersonal Communications & Mediation Course: 44 hours
  • Incident Debrief training: 4 hours
  • Active Shooter / Threat Response training in POBT with wraparound actions, such as duty to render aid: 8 hours
  • Critical Decision-Making, Tactical Breathing, Crisis Mitigation & De-escalation, and Managing Cognitive Demand: 16 hours

As part of the suggested changes to help improve local agency recruitment and retention, the task force also proposes an adjusted standard to the physical fitness test required to graduate from a basic academy.

The group also recommends replacing single-topic, lecture-style courses with integrated training platforms featuring scenario-based practical application that will help peace officers better retain and employ the knowledge gained. The use of virtual reality, augmented reality and other new technologies, the report says, will change how officers interpret the options available to them in both routine and high-stress encounters.

At the press conference, OPOTA Executive Director Tom Quinlan, who chaired the task force, invoked the words of Benjamin Franklin in emphasizing the tremendous value of the type of hands-on learning recommended in the report: ‘Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.’ ” 

Recommendations from the Blue Ribbon Task Force will next be presented to OPOTC for consideration of adoption, and to the legislature for their help in amending current statutes.

Today's press conference can be viewed in its entirety here

Kelly May: 614-813-7419


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