JRSA Forum. March 2015. Volume 33, Number 1.

Ohio SAC Collects Data for State Task Force on Community-Police Relations

On December 12, 2014, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed Executive Order 2014-06K announcing the creation of the Ohio Task Force on Community-Police Relations. The charge of the Task Force is threefold: 1) to explore the cause of fractured relationships between communities and law enforcement; 2) to examine strategies to strengthen trust between the community and law enforcement in order to resolve the underlying causes of friction; and 3) to provide the Governor with recommendations about best practices available to communities. The Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS), which is the parent agency of the Statistical Anal-sis Center (SAC), is responsible for implementing activities associated with the Task Force. The SAC has been centrally involved in all aspects of this initiative, and is responsible for collecting data to understand the current conditions and perceptions underlying community-police relations in Ohio.

A major component of the Task Force's responsibilities is to seek input and comment from Ohioans on the issue of community-police relations through a series of four public forums. The SAC is collecting qualitative data to report on themes identified across the forums. Additionally, to allow the SAC to capture the perceptions of a broader cross-section of Ohioans, the SAC developed a statewide survey to learn about citizens' attitudes toward law enforcement. This survey, which is being administered through the Kent State University Survey Research Lab, focuses on attitudes about police-community relations, police legitimacy, procedural justice, and body camera usage. Finally, the SAC is developing a survey for law enforcement officers to gather their attitudes about these same issues. A portion of the questions asked in the citizen attitude survey are replicated in the law enforcement survey to allow for a comparison of responses.

The final report, due April 30, will include a summary of the findings of the public forums as well as the two surveys. A more comprehensive report on the survey findings will follow.