- Associated Press - Thursday, March 5, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The quality of police training academies in Ohio and the need for stronger statewide training standards are among the issues an attorney general’s committee is considering as it explores possible changes to the way Ohio prepares police officers.

Only one in three academies in Ohio has a student success rate of 75 percent or above, according to data compiled by the Advisory Group on Law Enforcement Training.

Of those, nearly all the academies with the highest success rates are “closed,” meaning recruits apply to attend and the cost is covered by a police department.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Columbus, Dayton, Toledo and Cleveland police academies are among “closed” academies with high ratings.

“Open” academies are typically run by community colleges and charge tuition. Ohio has 61 police academies.

Attorney General Mike DeWine created the study group last year after several fatal police shootings and protests of those shootings in Ohio and nationally.

The committee is exploring what to do about low-performing academies and whether academies are serving every region properly, committee chairman Reggie Wilkinson said Thursday.

“Do we recommend we get rid of those ones that have lower percentages of completions, or do we have some sort of remediation system put in place that will allow them to do things differently?” Wilkinson said.

No recommendations have been made yet and there’s no timeline for the group to complete its work.

The committee has also been looking at whether all prospective police recruits in Ohio should have to pass similar background checks before training begins, such as polygraph tests, said Wilkinson, a former state prisons director.

DeWine has told the group to focus especially on training for use-of-force situations and for officers dealing with racially diverse populations in their communities.

DeWine also wants to know whether Ohio officers are trained well enough in recognizing when they are dealing with an active shooter. The committee is also studying how to improve officers’ interactions with mentally ill individuals.

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