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Ohio FOP Fine With Most Police Reforms, Except Dropping Qualified Immunity

Police in riot gear in front of a protest at the Ohio Statehouse.
Jo Ingles
Statehouse News Bureau
Police in riot gear in front of a protest at the Ohio Statehouse.

The state’s largest law enforcement organization says it’s cautiously on board with a lot of police reform ideas being pushed out at the local, state and federal levels.

Ohio Fraternal Order of Police vice president Jason Pappas says that, although horror stories of bad officers are making headlines, more cops are dismissed for misconduct than people might think.

“The public doesn’t see how many officers are actually terminated from employment. All they see are the controversial ones,” Pappas says.

Pappas says law enforcement can accept concepts such as more training, body cameras with what he calls "reasonable" policies, oversight boards with fair processes, and databases to keep officers with bad records from getting rehired.

“As far as what has been presented to us, there is very little that is going to cause us great concern,” he says.

However, Pappas says an idea discussed at the federal level to end the judicial doctrine of "qualified immunity," which would allow cops to be subject to lawsuits over their conduct, is a non-starter.

“Qualified immunity’s a very important tool for law enforcement, and if you remove those safeguards, it could have a major negative impact not just on today’s law enforcement, but the recruiting and retention of qualified people across this country,” Pappas says.