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A letter from Dave Yost: Helping police is essential during pandemic


Attorney General Dave Yost listens as Ontario Police Lt. Tony Grimwood describes how a training scenario will play out at a high school in the city, west of Mansfield.

While many in our state work from home and practice social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, our safety forces don’t have those luxuries. 

Criminals are still out there, stealing, selling drugs and hurting innocents. People still need to be rescued from house fires, car crashes and flooding. And jails and prisons still need to be patrolled.

These are jobs that thousands of Ohioans have signed up for, and they report for duty day after day, in spite of the risk of potentially deadly illness. That requires strength of will, as well as personal sacrifices and risk-taking above and beyond what is already dangerous work.

These officers have my unending gratitude. 

Of course, gratitude doesn’t go far when officers fall sick. My team and I have fielded calls from sheriffs, police chiefs and police academies worried about reinforcements should illness deplete their ranks.

I share their concerns and, with the help of the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission and Academy, I have eased the return to work for retired officers in good standing. To sign up, officers who’ve been retired for less than four years merely need to approach the department they want to work for, and if their help is needed, that department will notify OPOTA.

On the other end of the spectrum, OPOTA has resumed State Certification Exams for cadets who have completed basic training. Extra care is being taken to maintain social distancing during the exam sessions, so that cadets and staff members aren’t put at risk.

Unfortunately, basic training is not a process that adapts easily when a pandemic strikes. Cadets are required to attend 100% of their training, and that’s for good reason — to ensure they learn the techniques and tools that their lives, and others’ lives, will depend on. 

Cadets can’t simply watch a video and call it a day, as many other types of students are doing, because academy lessons are often hands-on, not conventional lectures. Still, staff members at OPOTC and OPOTA — which does not run its own basic academies — have provided the schools with topics that could be taught remotely. The goal is to prevent training from completely stalling where possible.

My team and I are not finished. We will continue to find ways to support law enforcement in this chaotic time.

In the meantime, please remember to take protective measures to reduce your chances of illness. Ohio residents need you more than ever.


Dave Yost
Ohio Attorney General