Police reported more than 2,000 cases to Ohio’s use of force database last year

Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 6:34 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -Ohio’s public use of force database aims to increase trust and accountability with police.

It’s now been more than a year since Ohio’s Office of Criminal Justice Services unveiled the use of force database.

More and more agencies are reporting their cases.

But 19 Investigates found many still aren’t doing this, leaving the public in the dark.

We found Ohio law enforcement agencies reported about 2,100 use of force incidents to the database in 2022.

Online, the information is broken down by case, and includes details like whether a person was armed, their gender and ethnicity, and any officer injuries.

19 Investigates found there are about 250 agencies regularly submitting data.

That’s up from around 200 agencies when the database became public in late 2021.

It’s voluntary for police to report their cases.

We spoke with Nicole Dehner, executive director of OCJS.

“At the end of the day, we’re hoping that providing this information will allow everyone to have a better idea of what’s going on in their communities with law enforcement,” she said.

We found some agencies are reporting their use of force cases now that weren’t six months ago.

Last July, after the deadly police shooting of 25-year-old Jayland Walker, we discovered Akron Police were one of several agencies not submitting their cases to the database.

But now they are-- at least their cases from 2022.

We randomly checked 10 local agencies and found half of them are reporting their use of force cases.

Cleveland, Independence, Berea, North Royalton and Canton police are reporting cases to the database.

But Lorain, Euclid, Beachwood, Medina and Kent Police are not.

This database is only as good as the information local police departments are submitting.

Dehner said they’re still working on getting more to participate.

“The more folks that are aware of this, both law enforcement agencies and citizens and the benefits of using this, we’d love to get the word out,” she said.

She encourages everyone to check it out.

“I think looking at these use of force reports is really telling and it provides the full narrative, instead of for example anecdotal information or maybe little snippets of things that can be put on social media that are really highlighted in a negative way sometimes,” Dehner said.

So far in first three weeks of the new year, we found 23 use of force cases have already been reported.