More than 800 privately employed Ohio police officers carry guns, use deadly force and have the authority to search, detain and arrest people. And under state law, they’re all allowed to keep their records secret, even from crime victims.
A special report by The Columbus Dispatch found the private police officers work for 39 employers made up of mostly private universities and hospitals. They, like their employers, are exempt from the public-records laws that public-sector police agencies must follow.
Critics, including Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, say it’s time to demand the same accountability and transparency from private police officers. DeWine said he will ask state legislators to change Ohio law to make private police forces subject to public-records laws.