23 police departments in Cuyahoga County lack state certification of policing policies

23 police departments in Cuyahoga County lack state certification of policing policies

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is calling local police agencies to become fully compliant with state standards when it comes to their policies.

A report by the Ohio Collaborative Police Advisory Board shows that 23 police departments in Cuyahoga County have policies that are not certified by the state.

Agencies are not mandated to have their polities certified based on state standards, but it is highly encouraged, especially now in the wake of the George Floyd case.

Of the 78 percent of agencies that have achieved certifications, some of them are only partial.

Chief John Majoy in Newburg Heights says his department got the first round of certifications three years ago.

The process took his department from around 20 policies it had in 2013 to the 130 some polices in place today--and that was only the first of three levels of certifications the state can give.

“Mostly with round one was with respect to use of force and hiring retention and recruitment,” he said. “I don’t know why anybody wouldn’t do it but you do have to put a lot of time and effort,” Majoy said.

Majoy says it’ll be a real challenge though to go through the next level.

“We would really have to dedicate an employee to do that, and we really don’t have the resources,” he said.

That may be why the other departments haven't even completed level one.

However, we discovered a lot of the departments on this list do in fact have policies that comply with the state’s standards. They just haven’t called the state board to evaluate them and give a stamp of approval.

Fairview Park’s chief says he has been in the process of reviewing and changing polices for six months so far.

Bay Village’s new chief says many of its policies already comply or go above and beyond the state’s standards. The city just needs to have the state advisory board come out and confirm that in order to get certified.

In Westlake, Captain Jerry Vogel says the department was one of the first to have the board out years ago. They successfully got the certification. They’re on the non-certified list now though, because the certification expired after two years.

“It’s just the time and effort,” Vogel said. “We were in compliance then and we are still in compliance now.”

Middleburg Heights Police Chief Ed Tomba says his department became fully certified using state guidelines after he became chief.

“They are good guidelines, and now with everything that’s been going on, I think they’ll become a little bit more of a priory,” he said.

But, he says just because a city isn’t certified does not mean the officers are not doing what they’re supposed to.

“There are a lot of good police departments out there but a lot of times policy does get kind of pushed back in the scheme of things,” Tomba said. “It was an exhaustive 18 month procedure so it’s not easy and it’s not something that you can get overnight, but I think in light of what’s been happening in our country, I think it will become a little more of a priority.”

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