STOP COP CITY IN OHIO
In mid September 2023, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced a task force focused on “the future of law enforcement training,” reviving the dialog on Ohio’s Cop City, and envisioning “Cop 2030”. Ohio Families Unite Against Police Brutality and OFUPAC condemn the Attorney General and his strategy of funneling seemingly limitless public resources to law enforcement. Once again we are seeing decisions being made that will directly impact our communities with no opportunity for community input.
“We are so tired of elected officials ignoring the people in our communities and treating their opinions as less than the opinions of members of law enforcement,” said Emily Cole, Executive Director of OFUPAC. “Law enforcement and the Attorney General keep forgetting – you work for and serve us, not the other way around.”
In Georgia, the Cop City proposal has set off political violence that shows the true colors of this kind of maneuvering: a “training center” that teaches local law enforcement how to use military weaponry and tactics, with “trainings” that treat community members like insurgents and terrorists. It is no different in Ohio.
“Police training that is not community driven, that has no oversight by the hundreds of families in Ohio who have lost a child, sibling, parent at the hands of police, prepares police for war with the community at a time when Ohioans are needing basic support,” said Ri Molnar, MSW, LISW, Secretary of Ohio Families Unite Against Police Brutality. “This training facility and task force are not just wrong, they are malignant and will cause more death.”
Families directly impacted by police brutality have long advocated for more public input in shaping polices aimed at building safer communities. The announcement of this closed task force, composed entirely of law enforcement professionals and those who serve them, shows that our state-level leaders are continuing their refusal to listen to the people closest to the problem. Attorney General Yost and his team are focused on propping up a militarized police force with an eye on “Cop 2030,” rather than investing in safe communities.
“‘Cop 2030’ is not primarily focused on saving lives and building trust, but more so on how police are being retrained to negate alleged hostile situations. This approach seems more derivative of confrontation rather than de-escalation, and of instigating a situation,” said Chante Myles, board member of OFUPAC and mother of Mark Myles Junior, and Kevin Valentine, killed by Dayton Police Department in 2010. “This style of policing should not be treated as a ‘pilot program’ with no public insight to see how this plane would land, crash, or burn the citizens. That doesn't make me feel safe, and neither should you.”
Our organizations and the directly impacted families who are our leadership urge the Attorney General to stop this reckless use of taxpayer money. Ohioans know what keeps us safe, and the answer has never been the use of military force against our communities.
“It is bizarre the Attorney General is focused on ‘Cop 2030’ rather than a Safe 2023,” said Emily Cole. “We can’t train our way out of a crisis created by bad actors, gaps in policy, and insufficient quality of life resources.”
Our statewide network of directly impacted families and advocates urges AG Yost to create opportunities for the communities most impacted by police violence to give input on how to build sustainable public safety programs in our neighborhoods. Solutions for better public safety have never involved an increase in weapons, more severe tactics, or unfettered access to retired military merchandise. Put the people of Ohio above the weapons of Ohio.