Cedarville, Central State Creates Pilot Program for Statewide Police Officer Recruitment

CEDARVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) – Finding and keeping good officers has been a challenge for police departments across the state.

Gov. Mike DeWine mentioned at a press conference Wednesday that he was told fewer than 40 people showed up to take the civil service test — and that hundreds had taken it in the past.

“Now when we put out applications, even through our recruiting efforts, it’s hard to get 35 to 40 applicants,” Beavercreek Police Chief Jeff Fiorita said.

“There is a lot of speculation about the reason – the negative publicity that is published about law enforcement, labor [becoming] more complex, being in the public eye…” explained Dr. Patrick Oliver, director of the criminal justice program at Cedarville University.

Oliver is also the lead consultant for the Ohio Office of Law Enforcement Recruitment, which was created in 2020 following calls for law enforcement reform. The office aims to help local law enforcement agencies recruit and retain a diverse workforce.

Oliver said they are working to address two issues: the lack of qualified applicants and the lack of qualified applicants from minority groups. The College to Law Enforcement Pathway program is a solution to these problems.

Upper-class students studying criminal justice at Cedarville University and Central State University with a qualifying GPA of 3.0 or higher are eligible for the program, which begins next fall. They will be matched with mentors currently in the law enforcement profession and will be offered guaranteed employment upon graduation.

Beavercreek Police Chief Fiorita said his department is interested in participating in the program and the logistics are still being worked out.

“This program is just another tool that we can use, especially for minorities and women, to help our recruiting efforts get those quality candidates,” Fiorita said.

The first graduates of this program will be ready to start their jobs by March 2022 according to Oliver.

“I like to say that the quality of the agency equals the quality of the agent serving this community,” he said. “We will guide them, help them, assist them, until we do well and to start we will choose the best students… [and] this university education will enable them to have effective critical thinking, to get along better with the community and to improve their training to become leaders.

Law enforcement agencies planning to participate in the pilot project include Beavercreek Police Service, Dublin Police Service, Fairfield Township Police Service, Fairview Park Police Service, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Lancaster Police Department, Lebanon Police Department, Ohio State Highway Patrol. , Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Reynoldsburg Police Department, West Chester Police Department, and Xenia Police Department.

Here in the Miami Valley, Chief Fiorita said he can’t wait to see what difference the program makes.

“We’re always trying to get better and better at what we do and if this program is just another way to recruit in a different way to get highly qualified candidates, we’re all for it,” said he declared. noted. “If we can have at least one candidate that we take out of this program to become an officer, that will be good because they have been exposed to everything for a few years and we already know who they are.

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