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More federal money available to train police officers in Ohio

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The Ohio’s Peace Officer Training Academy is getting more than a quarter million dollars to help police around the state identify and better respond to impaired drivers.

Sometimes when people are driving impaired, it's not only because they are drunk or high. Impaired driving can include fatigue or someone dealing with a medical condition.

OPOTA Executive Director Dwight Holcomb said this $280,000 grant from the federal government will allow officers to be trained as part of the Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement program on how to better identify drivers who might be impaired for a variety of reasons.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean that they consumed too much of an alcoholic beverage of something else. It could be for a variety of reasons so this type of training then helps officers recognize what the conditions are that are causing the individual’s driving to come to the attention of the officer," Holcomb said.

Holcomb said officers will also be trained in field sobriety protocol. He said the Standardized Field Sobriety Testing training will also help train officers with field sobriety testing techniques. Holcomb said officers will then become instructors who will share that knowledge with others in their agencies.

Holcomb said the money will also cover specific training on advanced techniques for investigating traffic collisions, including measuring, mapping and analyzing vehicle behavior.  Officers can use the money to learn more about vehicle dynamics, including instruction on vehicle systems, vehicle motion, hydroplaning and rollovers, as well as determining energy, speed, and velocity.

"We are really talking about driving, trying to make sure the roads of Ohio and in every community are safe," Holcomb said.

Holcomb said last year, 354 officers throughout the state were trained through specific classes like these because of another federal grant.

He's unsure how many will be able to be trained through this new round of funding but said the state will train officers until the funds are exhausted.

The grant is funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and made available through the Ohio Department of Public Safety.

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Contact Jo Ingles at jingles@statehousenews.org.