Editorial roundup

The Columbus Dispatch, Aug. 15

The work of policing in America is under scrutiny as never before, and that’s a good thing. The origin of the new attention – several high-profile, fatal encounters between police officers and citizens – is tragic, but if lessons are learned, such incidents can be reduced.

A civil society depends on having a police force that people trust and respect. When that bond frays, everyone is less safe.

Fair-minded people, in law enforcement and among the public, have to come to terms about how police should interact with the public and whether or not those standards are being met …

Even with perfect documentation, though, police and some in the public will see police/public conflicts differently. The best way to bridge the gap is through better communication.

Police work, on its worst days, is brutal and ugly. Police officers face challenges most people never do: hostile, violent people engaging in vile behavior. They are expected to manage out-of-control people and defuse situations without harming or offending anyone. Not surprisingly, they don’t always succeed.

Law-enforcement officials can’t just assume their officers operate free of bias and follow proper procedures; they need strong policies, training and documentation to be certain of it. And they need to make that information clear to the public, so it can be certain, too.

Online: http://bit.ly/1E1sws7

The Cincinnati Enquirer, Aug. 16

We’re still getting letters to the editor saying Samuel DuBose would never have been stopped if he had simply followed the Ohio law requiring front license plates. Maybe. Or maybe University of Cincinnati officers practicing a stated policy of “aggressive policing” would have found another reason to stop him, such as a broken taillight or failing to use a turn signal.

The case for allowing drivers to be pulled over for a minor issue like a missing front plate is not one rooted in safety …

No, the license-plate question, at heart, is about whether everyone should be treated equally. Making a missing plate a primary offense for which officers can stop a motorist provides an excuse for law enforcement officials to pull over people based on their “gut.” The problem is, everyone’s gut is full of prejudices, depending on our individual experiences. The type and age of the car, the neighborhood and, yes, the race of the driver can all factor into an officer’s gut decision to make a stop – what many call “driving while black.” …

Removing one reason to stop motorists for “driving while black” may be more symbolic than game-changing, but there is power in symbols.

Online: http://cin.ci/1JcYo96

The (Youngstown) Vindicator, Aug. 16

Ohio Gov. John Kasich isn’t the first governor to push for a restructuring of the Ohio Board of Education, and he won’t be the last. Indeed, the advocates for change have included such prominent governors as Democrat Frank J. Lausche and Republican James A. Rhodes.

The underlying argument against the current system has remained consistent over the years: With 11 of the 19 state board of education members elected from districts and eight appointed by the governor, there is no accountability to the state’s chief executive …

But Kasich contends that the board is extremely partisan, very polarized and divided, “and some people have seen that as a useful way to run through political agendas,” according to the Dispatch …

As we’ve noted on numerous occasions, the status quo is unsustainable in Youngstown, which is why we have no qualms about placing the school board in a supportive role …

A panel made up of educators, officeholders and representatives of business, labor and community organizations would be ideally suited to delve into the composition and operation of the state board of education.

Online: http://bit.ly/1MybhBV