Ohio developing community-police relations education campaign


By Michael Seffrin - mseffrin@aimmedianetwork.com



COLUMBUS — As part of Ohio’s effort to strengthen relations between police and the communities they serve, the state is partnering with a Columbus-based public relations and marketing firm to develop a multi-pronged outreach and education campaign.

The public relations firm Warhol & WALL ST. will begin working with the state’s 12-member Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board on materials for an education and outreach campaign that will begin this spring, according to a news release from the board this week.

“The overreaching goal of this outreach and education campaign is to create better understanding between communities and law enforcement,” said Ohio Department of Public Safety Director John Born, who serves as co-chair of the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board. “This will ultimately assist in improving this important relationship.”

Sidney Police Chief Will Balling serves on the Ohio Associations of Chiefs of Police Education Committee. He said the police chiefs’ group works with the governor’s board.

Balling said Wednesday he was not familiar with this latest campaign, but local law enforcement agencies already work to have good community-police relations.

“I believe it is important to interact with the community and work together to learn about the issues and build the partnerships,” Balling said. “Here in city of Sidney and Shelby County, I feel that we are really blessed by having so many supportive citizens in our community. I feel that it is very important to get to know people in the community and work together. I am interested in seeing what the governor’s committee puts out, but I believe that the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, local departments, and we at the Sidney Police Department will already be doing what his recommendations will be. I am proud of all the local law enforcement agencies in Shelby County and how they work with the community.”

Earlier this year, Gov. John Kasich created the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board to oversee implementation of recommendations from a task force the governor created to explore best community policing practices, law enforcement training, and standards for law enforcement interaction with the community. As a result, the group developed for the first time in Ohio history statewide standards to help guide Ohio law enforcement agencies.

Balling said one of the first items Kasich wanted to address was to ensure all law enforcement agencies had proper standards and policies in play on critical issues such as how they respond to resistance, Balling said.

“The Sidney Police Department currently uses a company called Lexipol to assist us with our policy manual,” Balling said. “Approximately five years ago we completely overhauled our policy manual and reviewed everyone and made sure they complied with all federal, state and local mandates. We also tried to incorporate best practices as advised by experts in the field. Since then our policy manual has been reviewed several times a year for any changes in the law or best practices. On average, 25 polices are updated every year to meet the proper standards. Our standards meet the governor’s committee’s standards already and we will continue to monitor their recommendations so we can maintain our commitment to excellence.”

According to the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board, the overall scope of the public awareness campaign announced this week includes:

• Educating law enforcement on how to better interact with the community they serve by focusing on appropriate and effective programming especially those programs that promote positive educational interactions between law enforcement and youth in the community;

• Educating the general public on strategies to improve community-police relations including how to appropriately interact with law enforcement and how law enforcement should appropriately interact with the public; and

• Educating the community about the duties of law enforcement and the nature of their responsibilities in order to raise citizen’s awareness and understanding of law enforcement’s obligation to protect and strengthen the vital partnership between the community and law enforcement.

Warhol & WALL ST. was selected following a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) process managed by the Ohio Department of Administrative Services.

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By Michael Seffrin

mseffrin@aimmedianetwork.com

The writer may be contacted at 937-538-4823.

The writer may be contacted at 937-538-4823.