State Rep. Haraz N. Ghanbari (R-Perrysburg), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, continues to prioritize public safety in the recently passed state operating budget.
“I am proud of the emphasis we placed in the budget to support our law enforcement and first responders with investments that will better equip and train them to ensure we keep our neighborhoods safe here in Wood County and across Ohio,” Ghanbari said. “As they serve us in our communities, it is our obligation to support them by continuing to invest in our state’s public safety initiatives.”
A key public safety initiative in the budget is the Next Generation 9-1-1 program, which when fully operational, will provide citizens with advanced communication capabilities to contact 9-1-1 via text message, smartwatches and other wearable technology, as well as home security systems and vehicle systems, when calling for emergency services, including police, fire and emergency medical services. Ghanbari noted through the use of the Emergency Services Internet Protocol Network, NG 9-1-1 will become a seamless, coordinated and efficient system available to all local 9-1-1 centers throughout Ohio.
Additionally, the budget includes $40M toward law enforcement training to help keep residents and officers safe. The continuing professional training requirements are based on recommendations by the Law Enforcement Training Funding Study Commission. Moreover, Ghanbari notes the Ohio Department of Public Safety, under the leadership of Director Andy Wilson, will receive a significant financial investment to create a state-wide law enforcement accreditation program.
“Regardless of where folks are serving in law enforcement across the Buckeye State, it’s important that they meet the highest levels of training and professionalism as they serve the citizens of Ohio,” Ghanbari said. “Additionally, as we see law enforcement officers latterly transfer from one agency to another, this helps ensure the high standards are uniform.”
Ghanbari, a consistent advocate for public safety communication, and the state-wide Multi-Agency Radio Communication System, said reducing the radio fee for departments and agencies to $5 per month, per radio, in the current budget will help ensure that first responders can seamlessly communicate during dynamic and fluid emergency situations.
The representative also notes that he secured $30,000 in funding for the Northwestern Ohio Volunteer Firemen’s Association Fire School held each year at the PENTA Career Center in Perrysburg Township. Ghanbari, who earned his volunteer fire certification through the State Fire School at Bowling Green State University in 2019, emphasized the importance of continuing education for the volunteers.
“Our communities, especially those in the more rural areas, are desperately in need of volunteer firefighters,” Ghanbari said. “This investment in the NOVFA is key to equipping these women and men with the latest in tactics, techniques and procedures when responding to emergencies.”
The state budget, signed into law by the governor in July, is effective for the two-year operating budget cycle.