Ohio Senate advances bill to lower age requirement for officers

Bills introduced in the Ohio House and Senate would lower the age from 21 to 18 for Ohioans to become an officer.
Published: May. 10, 2023 at 3:21 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

The attached video previously aired on March 2, 2023.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVG) - The Ohio Senate voted to advance a proposal Wednesday to lower the minimum age requirement for police officers in the state.

Under the bill, Ohio police departments would have the choice of lowering the age to become a police officer from 21 to 18. Lawmakers in the Senate passed it in a 25-8 vote with a majority of Republican support Wednesday afternoon.

Supporters of the bill argue it could help departments deal with staffing issues. They point to the fact that 18-year-olds can enlist to serve in the U.S. military and said some municipalities already hire at younger ages, including Columbus, which requires officers to be at least 20 years old. Senator Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) said staffing problems need to be addressed but this bill isn’t the way to do it, calling the proposal misguided.

Opponents argue teenagers aren’t mature enough to handle the duties of an officer. The state’s largest police union and several departments have publicly opposed the bill.

The bill will head to the House for consideration, where debates on a similar bill championed by Rep. Josh Williams (R-Oregon) have been ongoing.