The unrest we've seen in Cleveland, Baltimore, and Ferguson makes it clear -- our cities are hurting.
Meanwhile, the overwhelming majority of law enforcement officials report to work each day and are willing to risk their lives to protect us. But their actions are being overshadowed by some bad actors. Rebuilding the broken trust between our citizens and the officers who have sworn to protect them is essential.
But the Republican budget agreement passed earlier this month could reduce funding for our municipalities and police departments by cutting Byrne Justice Assistance Grants -- known as the Byrne JAG program -- by up to $24 million.
Now is not the time to drastically cut funding that our local police departments use to serve their communities.
Last week my office released a report detailing the Byrne JAG Program funding Ohio police departments received over the last fiscal year -- funding that could be in jeopardy if these severe cuts are approved. 39 Ohio police departments have received grants totaling more than $15 million.
Local municipalities and departments use these grants to test new approaches to community policing efforts, and to incorporate innovative technology, like body cameras.
These cameras are often a valuable tool to improving police-community relations. In some instances, body cameras have been found to reduce the use of force by officers as much as 60 percent, and to reduce citizen complaints against police by as much as 88 percent, according to a report by the Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs Diagnostic Center.
During this week's National Police Week, I joined law enforcement officials to say enough is enough.
We cannot and should not be cutting key federal resources when department budgets are already stretched thin. We're calling for full funding of the Byrne JAG program.
As we fight for full funding, my office is working to ensure that police departments receive assistance in applying for competitive grant programs that help keep communities - and police officers - safe.
We are holding seminars around the state on how local governments can apply for Byrne JAG Grants, with two seminars this Wednesday, at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland and at OSU in Columbus.
Instead of cutting funding at time when departments are struggling, we should be investing in expanded law enforcement training and new technology to support our officers.
Our cities are hurting -- we need to give our police departments the resources they need to protect and rebuild trust with their communities.