COPLEY, Ohio — Ohio continues to make efforts to improve police training and recruitment statewide, in light of ongoing civil unrest over police conduct across the country.
Gov. Mike DeWine announced the appointment of 12-year Copley police veteran Sarah Shendy as Director of the recently formed Ohio Office of Law Enforcement Recruitment.
Shendy brings a masters degree in criminal justice and an Egyptian, Muslim family background to the agency, which was primarily created to recruit more women and minority officers.
Shendy said she also hopes to help improve police training, soon launching a state website which will allow residents and police departments to give input on how to better train, attract and retain higher quality recruits and officers.
“This job is my absolute passion," Shendy said. “I tell every single person I meet this is the best job on the planet. Every single day we’re in uniform we have the potential of changing someone's life. And if we can’t change a life completely we can make it better. The website is going to enable the pubic, as well as police departments, to get in touch with me and my team members.”
Shendy said the website will also provide mentoring and support to minority officers who are considering signing up with the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy in New London Ohio.
“Someone from an Indian community, or a Middle Eastern community, or a Jewish community might want to go to the police academy, but they might be afraid of the backlash from the community because of cultural expectations," Shendy said.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said he's pleased Ohio has reopened in-person training at the police academy.
Yost said the state is working on improving de-escalation and implicit bias training for officers and cadets, but he said more state funding is needed.
“We need to do a better and more consistent job with training on conflict management," Yost said. “We need to simply get more regular with it. An awful lot of officers get their 737 hours at the academy, but then they go back to their jurisdiction, and they don’t get anything. Under Ohio law right now we can only require an officer to be trained if we provide the money to cover that shift, which is millions of dollars. In Ohio, most years, we don’t have the money to do that, we don’t have a dedicated revenue stream.”