Ohio House Bill 206, authored by State Rep. Haraz N. Ghanbari (R-Perrysburg), was signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine Friday during a ceremony at the Statehouse in Columbus.
The legislation, which goes into effect in 90 days, gives township trustees the ability to allow township law officers to enforce laws on interstate highways within their jurisdiction.
“Haraz continues to demonstrate his strong support of law enforcement, and we appreciate his diligence on House Bill 206 which will help make all of our communities safer,” said Gary Wolske, president of the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio. “We look forward to continuing to work alongside Representative Ghanbari on a variety of public safety issues.”
The bill requires the following parameters:
The highway is part of the interstate highway system;
The township has a population between 5,000 and 50,000 residents;
Township Trustees grant authority to patrol the applicable interstate;
The highway is located within the township officer’s jurisdiction; and
There is a permanent access point on and off the highway located within the jurisdiction and open to the public.
“We have taken another step toward collaboration with our law enforcement partners and local officials to enhance the safety and protection of our fellow citizens,” Ghanbari said. “I’m proud to have spearheaded this bill; it took lots of work and coordination over two general assemblies among interested parties to get it over the finish line. I was honored to be joined by law enforcement and township officials as Governor DeWine signed this important legislation into law.”
Another provision within H.B. 206 allows the township trustees to revoke the authority through a subsequent resolution if they so choose, noted Ghanbari.
“The tenacity Haraz has shown on this legislation is remarkable,” said Perrysburg Township Deputy Chief Matt Gazarek. “His ability to create a collation of support across numerous law enforcement agencies and stakeholders is ultimately what led to the strong bipartisan support in both legislative chambers for House Bill 206 to become law.”
The Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, which represents 8,000 active and retired law enforcement officers, deputies, corrections officers, dispatchers and other governmental employees, including township police officers, including Perrysburg Township and Lake Township, thanked Rep. Ghanbari and his joint-sponsor Rep. Michael O’Brien, D-Warren, for their sponsorship and steadfast work in advancing this important issue for their members.
“The OPBA has strongly advocated for this legislation to fill a gap in law enforcement on interstate highways,” said OPBA Executive Director Tom Austin. “The OPBA thanks Governor DeWine for his support and for enacting this legislation.”
Within Ghanbari’s district, several groups announced their support during the committee process through submitted testimony at the Statehouse. In particular, the Perrysburg Township Board of Trustees noted their gratitude in submitted testimony of the bill gaining traction and moving forward after being “stalled” over the last few years.