Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:
The (Canton) Repository, Jan. 21
There are only 39 private police forces in Ohio, but they are far more “private” under state law than they should be.
Police officers who work for private employers - hospitals, private universities, large companies - have the same powers as public police. The law allows them to carry handguns and to search, detain and arrest people.
Yet state law doesn’t require their conduct to be open to public scrutiny. That’s wrong, and it’s a situation the Legislature should change.
Advocates of more accountability have an ally in Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who wants the law to see these officers just as it does their public counterparts. …
No matter what legislators intended, what they’ve done is to give private police and their employers an unwarranted privilege of secrecy.
And virtually all are taking advantage of this privilege. …
Nothing in the law requires the records to be private - the employers could release them if they wished. Openness should be a requirement, not an option.
Police, whether public or private, are authorized to make life-or-death decisions. That’s a compelling reason for the Legislature to change the law, and soon.
The Cincinnati Enquirer, Jan. 20
In a 1957 speech called “Give Us the Ballot,” the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. articulated why the right to vote is central to a person’s dignity and right to self-determination.