Everyone's got their own PD E-mail
Written by Mark Nichols   

According to a recent article in the Dayton Daily News, cops that don’t work in traditional city and county agencies are playing an increasing role in Ohio law enforcement. Law enforcement officers working outside of traditional agencies are seeing their numbers increase and are generally handling the law enforcement needs of entities like hospitals, colleges, airports and even a regional transit authority.

The Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission can certify 24 types of peace officers.

Certified cops in Ohio reach that distinction after finishing a minimum of 579 training hours and securing a position at an authorized agency.

Certified cops can make arrests, write criminal citations, apply for warrants and carry firearms.

Ohio municipalities can also grant powers to “special peace officers.” Those would be qualified officers who serve businesses such as banks, hospitals and amusement parks that don’t have state-recognized police departments.

Some police chiefs say the variety of officers is necessary to patrol areas that would significantly strain city or county police departments.

“It’s not only helpful, it’s necessary,” Richard Biehl, the Dayton police chief who began his career as an officer at the University of Cincinnati, told reporters.

In addition to working in normal police departments and sheriffs offices, cops in Ohio can work for police departments at entities like the Ohio Department of Taxation and Ohio Department of Natural Resources. They can also work at casinos.

“We’re not the bouncers,” said Karen Huey, the Ohio Casino Control Commission director of enforcement. “We’ll be working in a covert capacity and also have certain powers.”

In addition to cops working outside traditional agencies, Ohio has seen the number of private security officers spike.

The requirements to be a security guard in Ohio include passing a background check and to pay a licensing fee. To carry guns, security officers must first pass firearms training.

State officials said their biggest concern is the lack of a uniform set of standards and making sure that officers get enough training.

“Our job is to make sure when officers do get certified they are in the best position to serve the public safely and admirably,” according to Robert Fiatal, executive director of the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission. “We constantly review curriculum as well as lesson plans to make sure we’re doing that job.”

Ohio law also allows municipalities to form agreements with banks, hospitals and amusement parks that have not received state certification as a police department to employ OPOTC-trained personnel as special police officers.

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