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Dayton police increase training and community initiatives in ongoing reform efforts

Dayton police car
Desmond Winton-Finklea
The city's collaboration with Montgomery County Youth Works aims to attract recruits.

Dayton Police say the department has initiated more than 85% of reform efforts mapped out by several work groups.

Dayton City Police continue initiating reforms regarding policy and officer practice.

According to Assistant Chief Eric Henderson, novice officers are getting more attention after graduating from the Dayton Police Academy.

Field training officers are providing more oversight to graduates transitioning to street patrol.

"Our field training has been extended from 16 weeks to 20 weeks to allow for more evaluation," explains Henderson. "Their training the officers on how to operate the equipment in the police car, how to respond to calls for service, how to communicate to gather information on different crimes, how to interact with the community. The field training officers are providing guidance to the new officers. That training now is 800 hours over and above training provided at our academy."

The reforms include having all officers below the rank of major wear body cameras active throughout their entire shifts. Additionally, parking enforcement aides and Dayton's fire department arson unit also use body cameras. The department maintains 120 in-car cameras.

The city is also working with Montgomery County Youth Works to attract future recruits.

Henderson said it's open to 16-year-olds and up.

"For ten hours a week while they're in school. They can come work with us and learn different aspects of the police department," Henderson said. "During the summer months, they can work 20 hours or a little bit more interacting with officers, interact with our professional staff, interacting with community members, and really learning about our community."

Meanwhile, the city has seen an uptick in citizen complaints coming into the Dayton Police Department. Leaders say this indicates changes in how the department interacts with the community are working.

Dayton City Commissioner Matt Joseph explained it is now easier for citizens to submit a complaint and said they are doing a better job of job of informing people about how you can submit a complaint.

"You can do it in person. You can do it in a place that's not the police department," Joseph emphasized. "We're educating other agencies that might come in contact with people who might have a complaint so they know how to do truth. Second, we're making sure that all the complaints are going into the same system so that you can see where it is in the process and what's happening. And then you can check the disposition and you'll get an email or call sent to you specifically about what's going on. And with the phone number of somebody you can call if you have any questions."

In 2020, Dayton's mayor and city commission targeted five areas for police reform, oversight, training, use of force, recruitment and community engagement.

Kathryn Mobley is an award-winning broadcast journalist, crafting stories for more than 30 years. She’s reported and produced for TV, NPR affiliate and for the web. Mobley also contributes to several area community groups. She sings tenor with World House Choir (Yellow Springs), she’s a board member of the Beavercreek Community Theatre and volunteers with two community television operations, DATV (Dayton) and MVCC (Centerville).

Email: kmobley@wyso.org
Cell phone: (937) 952-9924