The Butler County Sheriff’s Office is making it easier for all law enforcement officers to get the training recently mandated by the state.
The mandated training comes just a few years after police-involved shootings rocked the state, and after several hearings by a task force formed by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office.
In 2015, DeWine’s office moved to impose new police training standards. Law enforcement is required to take 24 hours of training this year and that mandate will increase every year until it reaches 40 hours a year.
And while the mandate allows agencies to take online courses, Butler County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Anthony Dwyer said it’s not as effective.
“It’s not really as effective unless you’re doing the training in the classroom,” he said.
At the suggestion of Butler County Commissioner Don Dixon, Dwyer led the coordination of training that will be taken at Butler Tech’s Public Safety Education Complex in Liberty Twp., which includes the hiring of a retired officer from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office who will lead many of these classes.
Every policy agency in the county can independently grab spots in the training which started this month.
“The good thing is that everybody in the county is getting the same training,” Dwyer said. “Officers from different agencies are in the same classrooms, and they can discuss different things going on their communities. I think it has potentially to be exponentially beneficial.”
Dwyer said this has the approval of the Butler County Police Chiefs Association.
“It’s going to make it a one-stop shop for everyone in the county,” said association president Matt Fruchey, who’s also Fairfield Twp.’s chief. “The sheriff’s department is making things convenient and accessible for as many agencies as possible.”
City of Fairfield police Chief Mike Dickey said the collaborative effort also includes coordinating what the local departments are doing.
“It just gives a wide variety of options,” said the chief. “When you have resources throughout the area and Butler Tech, it is just a bonus for everyone.”
As Dickey reviews the mandated curriculum through Butler Tech, there’s nothing new that major police departments haven’t been doing for years.
“I think the major agencies have been doing this in one form or another,” he said.
Dickey said smaller agencies, a police department that may have a part-time chief and a handful of officer, may not have the resources to fulfill the mandates.
“Training is an expensive process,” said Dickey.
That’s why Butler County Commissioner Don Dixon suggested it to Dwyer, which the county commission approved as a part of the sheriff’s budget.
“I suggested it but it took the whole board to do it,” said Dixon. “We’ve been doing things to try to help some regional participation, in sharing resources and trying to find more and more ways to do that.”
And ultimately it’s about saving taxpayer dollars, which Dixon said the investment of about $150,000 is worth it.
“Everybody’s been hurt in this economy and this trickeldown stuff from Columbus and Washington, D.C.,” said Dixon. “The whole county benefits and it makes things better and makes things easier to work together. It should save a lot of tax dollars and prevent some unfortunate things from happening.”