PIQUA — The Piqua Police Department was recently awarded certification for meeting state standards established by the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board as part of the state’s efforts to strengthen community and police relations.
“We’re pretty proud of that,” Piqua Chief of Police Bruce Jamison said. “I’m very pleased to be able to show our community that we’re up to the standards … on the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board.”
Jamison added that the department did not have to change their practices as they were already meeting those standards.
“We didn’t have to change our practices. We had some minor changes to our policy in order to prove to the Ohio Collaborative that this is what we’re about,” Jamison said.
Jamison explained that there are three general areas addressed: use of deadly force, any use of force, and standards related to hiring recruiting and selection of police officers.
“We probably exceeded the minimum standards that the state’s looking for,” Jamison said. “We’ve been able to prove that we do the right and we have been doing the right things in those areas.”
The Piqua Police Department is joining over 40 other agencies that have become certified by meeting standards for the use of force, including deadly force, and agency recruitment and hiring. The standards are the first of their kind in Ohio and were developed by the 12-member collaborative in August 2015.
The state has partnered with the Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association and the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police to help certify Ohio’s nearly 1,000 law enforcement agencies on a process to ensure that they are in compliance with Ohio’s new standards.
Certifications will continue throughout 2016. The first list of all Ohio compliant agencies will be published in March 2017.
The police department is not only meeting standards with the state, but with the Miami Valley Risk Management Association as well.
“We just got two pieces of of good news from our risk management association,” Jamison said.
Jamison said that the police department was in 100 percent compliance in regard to certain best practices established by the Miami Valley Risk Management Association. The police department, along with three other city departments, had a zero-loss for the fiscal year 2015-2016.
“For the type of activities that the officers are involved in, to be able to go through an entire year without any losses at all shows how responsible our officers are and what good judgment they use,” Jamison said.
“We had four departments or divisions that actually had no losses this past year as far as personnel,” Piqua City Manager Gary Huff said. Those included some of the city’s higher risk departments and were the police, fire, water, and wastewater departments in the city.
“Certainly, it means that we had no injuries that required time off, which means that safety practices were being followed and being careful about that so that we didn’t have any injury to our personnel,” Huff said, explaining that was a good thing because keeping the city’s employees safe is a priority.
The city also saved time and money with those departments as they did not have to pay for worker’s compensation or replace personnel.
“In the long run, it’s a cost-savings to the entire organization and the community because we’re not having those additional expenses,” Huff said. “Most importantly, we’re keeping our employees safe … The employees are our most valuable asset, and keeping them injury-free and on the job is beneficial to everyone.”
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336