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Re-examining Police Policies

Steubenville police and residents were lucky, in a way, more than 20 years ago when complaints about the municipal police department resulted in a U.S. Justice Department review. In turn, that was followed by a 2005 consent decree in which city officials agreed to establish and enforce new police policies.

That is an advantage in the current climate of accusations against some law enforcement agencies.

City Manager Jim Mavromatis explained the policies to Steubenville City Council members this week. One key strength is a requirement that use-of-force reports be filled out in some situations. They range from cases in which physical violence occurs to events as simple as police pursuit of suspects.

Last year, Steubenville police made 1,430 arrests — but only 69 of them required use-of-force reports, Mavromatis noted.

He added that police cruisers are equipped with recording devices, and he is exploring purchase of body cameras for officers.

Good. Steubenville’s safeguards protect both the public and law enforcement officers.

Some other area law enforcement agencies have similar policies — but some do not. Clearly, such initiatives serve both law enforcement and the public well, and ought to be put in place throughout our area.

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