COLUMBUS— State Senator Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland) has introduced Senate Bill 256, which would require law enforcement officers to collect data and maintain information from all motor vehicle stops, questionings, and delays to determine whether bias-based policing factored into these actions. Senator Charleta B. Tavares (D-Columbus) is co-sponsoring this bill.
 
“This legislation will hold law enforcement agencies accountable,” said Senator Williams. “It will enhance transparency and improve the public’s ability to review the actions of those who swore to protect them.” 
 
Bias-based policing refers to the differential treatment of individuals in the context of rendering police service based solely on a suspect classification, such as race, ethnic background, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, age or cultural background. Bias-based policing may also be defined as a police action based on an assumption or belief that any of the aforementioned classifications have a tendency to engage in criminal behavior.
 
If S.B. 256 becomes law, data gathered by law enforcement officers will be made available to the Attorney General, where the information will be evaluated for patterns of discriminatory practices that stem from bias-based or status-based tactics. If an agency is deemed to have practiced bias-based policing tactics or other status-based policing, as determined by the evaluated data; this legislation authorizes the Attorney General to seek legal action against the offending officers’ law enforcement agencies.
 
The legislation will also require the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission to include bias-free policing tactics as a part of their basic training. If an officer is deemed to be using bias-based policing, as determined by the collected and reviewed data, the officer can be required to be re-trained in bias-free policing tactics.
 
“The purpose of this legislation is to reaffirm Ohio’s commitment to unbiased policing in all encounters between officers and citizens,” said Senator Williams. “It will also reinforce procedures that serve to maintain public confidence and trust through the provision of services in a fair and equitable fashion. Senator Tavares and I believe this legislation will go a long way to curb the epidemic of bias that has plagued some of our law enforcement agencies.” 

 
 
 
  
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