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Gov. Mike DeWine announces pilot program to recruit 'highly-qualified' Ohioans into law enforcement jobs

The college mentorship program aims to create the next generation of law enforcement leaders in the state of Ohio.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine held a press conference Wednesday morning to announce a brand new pilot program to recruit Ohioans into law enforcement jobs. 

The new program is the College to Law Enforcement Pathway Program, and it is an elite, academic honors program that will allow students pursuing a criminal justice degree to be mentored by law enforcement who are currently serving. The pilot program will also provide field training to those students.

Gov. DeWine says two major issues facing law enforcement officers in Ohio and beyond are low morale, and the inability to recruit and retain quality candidates. These are two major issues the program hopes to address immediately.

Gov. DeWine said, one department he spoke with recently typically gets an average of 200 recruits. In the latest round, it got 37.

"Failure to keep the ranks of our law enforcement full has the potential to create a public safety crisis in this state," he said during Wednesday morning's press conference.

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The goal of the program is to recruit candidates and equip them with tools for success in the hopes of molding the next generation of law enforcement leaders. Those who participate in the program are guaranteed a job upon graduation.

Each participant will be paired in their junior and senior years of college, with an officer currently serving. The student will have the opportunity to gain real-world experience while they are still in college, setting them up for success upon graduation.

The two universities in Ohio that are part of the pilot program are Central State University in Wilburforce, Ohio, and Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. If it is successful, the program will be rolled out to include other schools.

Central State Univ – Cedarville Univ – traditional criminal justice majors

Gov. DeWine was joined during the announcement by Dr. Patrick Oliver, Ph.D., Criminal Justice Program Director at Cedarville University and Sarah Shendy M.S., Administrator with the Ohio Office of Law Enforcement Recruitment. 

You can watch the entire press conference in the player below.