In December 2014, Gov. John R. Kasich signed Executive Order 2014-06K, announcing the Ohio Task Force on Community-Police Relations (Task Force), after a series of incidents in Ohio and around the nation highlighted the challenging situations that exist in too many places between some communities and police. The task force included 24 members representing the Governor, legislature, Attorney General, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio, local law enforcement, organized labor, local community leaders, the faith-based community, business, municipalities and prosecuting attorneys.
On April 29, 2015, after a series of public forums, the Task Force delivered its final report to the Governor, who in turn signed Executive Order 2015-04K, establishing the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board (Ohio Collaborative) to oversee implementation of recommendations from the Task Force.
On August 28, 2015, for the first time in Ohio’s history, the Ohio Collaborative, a 12-person panel, established state standards for the use of force – including the use of deadly force – and agency employee recruitment and hiring that can help guide law enforcement agencies in Ohio.
Montpelier Chief of Police Dan McGee was not initially on board with the outcome of the collaborative when the information was first released in the media. He felt that the thought of a commission coming out stating that police departments needed to use the standard of Tennessee v. Garner and Graham v. Connor was a little off-putting.
“It’s the standard that we’ve always used,” he said, “…and our policy reflected this.” However, when the commission released the full version of the standards in a packet, Chief McGee saw the positive in it, saying, “The movement was logical, and I saw that we were already doing things that were obviously not being done by others”.
When taking over in 2013 as Chief of Police, Chief McGee revised the entire policy book, and he wanted to test the policies against what the commission had recommended. “To the department’s credit, we met or exceeded the language and requirements of the commission,” he said. “With very little tweaking needed, the Montpelier PD presented its initial packet for review in May of 2016, and the final version in July of 2016. On August 15, 2016, the Montpelier Police Department became one of the first 50 law enforcement agencies out of approximately 1,000 in Ohio to receive its final certification. In fact, the Montpelier PD is the only department in Williams County that is certified, and one of three certified agencies in the four-county area.”
Chief McGee states that he is proud of this accomplishment, and believes that it shows the department has moved forward in a progressive manner, which he hopes translates into better performance of officers and service to the community. “The standards that have been set for operating are high, and we look forward to showing the public we take them seriously,” he said.
“This makes total sense, because what we’re trying to do is take law enforcement and pull themselves up to a higher standard of policy,” Chief McGee explained. “With a higher standard of policy, you have a higher standard of performance, and a higher level to which you hold yourself. I think that’s what most people believe that law enforcement should be…holding themselves to a higher standard.”