Council to Vote on Andre’s Law, Continuing Safety Reforms
Legislation Provides Extra Accountability for Police and Mandates CPD use Body-worn Cameras and Provide Medical Aid
[COLUMBUS, OH] In response to the recent tragic and senseless violent events in the City of Columbus, Council created two pieces of legislation to provide additional security for residents and accountability within the police department. Ordinance 0196-2021, known as Andre’s Law, is named after Andre’ Hill who was killed by a Columbus police officer in December 2020. It seeks to ensure that Columbus safety officers properly use body-worn cameras and call for medical aid or deliver basic aid while awaiting medical personnel. Ordinance 0188-2021 provides the initial funding for an early warning system, designed to be used as a tool to identify any emerging problematic patterns in an officers' behavior.
“As we seek justice in the death of Andre’ Hill, there are two things we know for sure,” said Council President Shannon G. Hardin. “The officer on the scene did not immediately activate the City-issued body camera, and neither of the officers dispatched administered medical aid. This is something we can address now.”
Andre’s Law amends Columbus City Code to the following:
- Requires the activation of body-worn cameras during any enforcement action or other situation outlined in the directives of the Columbus Division of Police.
- Requires Columbus Police to request aid from emergency medical services upon the use of force that results in serious bodily harm, as well as the rendering of medical aid under certain circumstances.
- Requires Columbus Police recruits receive CPR and basic medical training and periodic retraining.
Anyone who violates these new chapters can be subject to discipline, per City policy and the collective bargaining agreements. However, in egregious cases, where a person shows a reckless disregard for the new law regarding the rendering of aid, prosecutors could pursue charges for dereliction of duty, a second-degree misdemeanor.
“I am in full support of Andre’s Law to strengthen options for holding police officers accountable for what they do – and fail to do,” said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. "An early detection system to identify officers who may be in crisis will go a long way in helping officers with the rigors of police work.”
Council also placed on the agenda ordinance 0188-2021. It allocates $250,000 for the Division of Police Early Warning system. The program grants the ability to intervene and correct unprofessional behavior before it escalates to misconduct or any other undesirable outcome for officers who demonstrate a pattern of problematic behavior. The tool can also reinforce positive conduct and identify officers in need of mental or emotional support.
“It is imperative to strengthen rules surrounding professional conduct, the use of body-worn cameras, and requirements to render aid -- not only in CPD policy but also in law,” Hardin continued.
Council will vote on both items during the February 1, 2021, regular meeting. Once passed and signed by Mayor Ginther, these items will go into effect immediately.