Editorial roundup

The Akron Beacon Journal, Feb. 4

With jails bulging due to the opiate epidemic, county-level officials across the state are calling for the legislature and the Ohio Supreme Court to fix a bail system that is contributing heavily to the overcrowding problem. Both the County Commissioners’ Association of Ohio and the Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association want to reduce jail populations through the adoption of a revamped system that more accurately assesses the risks that defendants pose to the public.

The organizations rightly argue that the ability to make even a modest bail is beyond the reach for many defendants, leading to county jails filled with poor defendants who pose no real risk to the public. According to the county commissioners’ association, more than 60 percent of the average daily jail population in the state is made up of individuals who are not yet sentenced and unable to post bond…

What the statewide groups are aiming to reduce sharply is the common practice of courts holding to a bond schedule for various offenses. While meant to reflect broadly the potential risk to public safety, the method results in incarceration based mainly on an inability to pay. Many of those in jail are nonviolent offenders with chronic drug and alcohol problems…

Statewide bail reform promises significant savings to cash-strapped county governments…

Online: http://bit.ly/2kETFwv


The (Lorain) Morning Journal, Feb. 4

The Lorain Police Department’s Use of Force Advisory Board to the Chief will examine documents, audio and video recordings made when police use force to restrain a suspect is necessary in the protection of rights, whether it’s an officer or the detainee.

For the first time in its history, the Police Department will enlist the help of citizens to analyze its use of force.

In this day of the need for transparency, this is a good move by the Police Department.

For the first few months of 2017, the panel is in training. Later this year, it will meet quarterly to consider how police officers react when a person resists arrest or a situation turns violent…

Civilians will need to understand what they are looking at. They have to grasp what the officer was faced with. They have to understand how the officer is trained. And they must know what the policy is.

Although there haven’t been many issues in recent years in Lorain County where law enforcement has come under scrutiny for its use of force, we hope all of the police agencies follow Lorain and allow civilians to review use of force complaints.

Citizens want transparency. And they should get it.

Online: http://bit.ly/2kdsR2A


The Lima News, Feb. 5

President Donald Trump issued two executive orders on Jan. 27, his seventh day in office.

The one on immigration stole the front page headlines across the nation. The other, on the rebuilding of the U.S. armed forces, was relegated to the back pages or the end of TV broadcasts, if it was mentioned at all.

What a shame.

Trump’s military order is one everyone should be praising. It directs Secretary of Defense James Mattis to conduct a 30-day review of the readiness of the armed forces. The goal is to assess the military’s ability to fight ISIS and other forms of radical Islamic terrorism.

The importance of the directive is amplified by the Heritage Foundation’s 2017 Index of U.S. Military Strength. It assessed overall U.S. military capability as “marginal, trending towards weak” because of many years of budget cuts and overuse…

Three weeks ago, the Congressional Research Service warned that “in the not too distant future, foreign armored vehicles design and capabilities could surpass existing U.S. systems.”

…One thing Trump’s made clear: For too long the United States has neglected the state of military readiness in favor of other priorities. Now is the time for that to end.

We believe the need is so critical that failure to succeed is not a viable option.

Online: http://bit.ly/2kEZ7iG