(Posted April 3, 2020)
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has directed the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) in London to expedite the final examinations of about 300 police cadets and allow them to quickly bolster the ranks of law enforcement in Ohio.
“We have to do everything legally, and safely, within our power to get officers and deputies on the streets of our state,” Yost said. “Our brave men and women in uniform will be exposed to the coronavirus (COVID-19), and we need to make sure there are reinforcements should a worst-case scenario materialize.”
Also, Yost is working with local agencies to create a pathway for recently retired law enforcement officers in good standing to return to the streets of Ohio. This pathway includes allowing returning officers one year to complete their required training from the date they are rehired. More than 1,000 peace officers retire each year in Ohio.
OPOTA staff are also working with local agencies to determine which required trainings retired officers will need to complete to be compliant with the OPOTA certification. Those trainings will be moved to eOPOTA and will be available through the online training portal. Any rehired law enforcement officers will be able to utilize eOPOTA’s online training portal to access the required trainings.
With the growing number of infected Ohioans and knowing the risk of communal spread, communities must do everything they can to protect their residents. Given that uncertainty, the need for ample law enforcement officers to protect Ohioans is critical. Unfortunately, officers are at high risk of becoming ill from COVID-19 due to their frequent interactions with the public.
Yost’s team will devise a plan that will safely test those officers who have completed their required training but have not taken the final exam. Preliminary plans have the test being offered on different days, allowing fewer people to be in the same room during the examination and will put approximately 300 law enforcement officers in action to serve and protect the public.
OPOTA will review on a case-by-case basis a provisional certification for a cadet, depending on the completion of certain critical training. This approval will be in consultation with the cadet’s basic training academy.
“This pandemic is stretching the thin blue line even thinner,” Yost said. “Now more than ever, we need all hands on deck.”
OPOTA also has made available online resources for law enforcement officers who have retired within the past four years and who want to recommission and help in the field. The necessary online training will provide officers with a course in the required subject areas so they may be OPOTA-compliant.