Government and Politics
September 24, 2022From: Ohio Governor Mike DeWine
Columbus, OH -- Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced on Sep 23rd, that 20 local first responder agencies will receive a total of $7.7 million to help them boost their staffing levels to ensure thorough coverage for emergency response.
The grants represent the second round of the new Ohio First Responder Recruitment, Retention, and Resilience Program. To date, Governor DeWine has awarded $9.4 million to 46 Ohio agencies as part of this program, which supports wellness needs of first responders such as stress and burnout caused by understaffing.
“By helping our first responder agencies bring their staffing levels up, we hope to ease some of the stress on current staff who are taking on added responsibilities,” said Governor DeWine.
A total of approximately $75 million will be awarded to law enforcement agencies, dispatch centers, fire departments, and emergency medical services agencies as part of this program in coming months.
Entities receiving grant funding as part of the second round of the Ohio First Responder Recruitment, Retention, and Resilience Program are as follows:
The Ohio First Responder Recruitment, Retention, and Resilience Program is administered by the Ohio Emergency Management Agency. The program awards funding for initiatives that support wellness programs addressing mental, physical, and emotional health issues unique to first responders; recruitment and retention efforts to restore workforce levels; onboarding and training costs; and explorer programs to engage young adults about first responder careers. This funding includes approximately $1.3 million that was awarded to several statewide service providers in June.
The program is funded as part of the $250 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding that Governor DeWine and the Ohio General Assembly dedicated to first responders last year to help counter various pressing issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, including increased stress and decreased staffing levels.
Governor DeWine has also placed enhanced focus on the wellness of first responders through the creation of the Ohio Office of First Responder Wellness within the Ohio Department of Public Safety. The new statewide office focuses exclusively on the well-being of first responders and provides specialized support and training to help emergency-response agencies proactively address post-traumatic stress and other traumas caused by factors that are unique to first-responder careers.
Other assistance for first responders developed by Governor DeWine since taking office in 2019 includes the creation of the Ohio Narcotics Intelligence Center, Ohio School Safety Center, Ohio Office of Law Enforcement Recruitment, Ohio Prisoner Extradition Reimbursement Program, Ohio Body-Worn Camera Grant Program, Ohio Ballistics Testing Initiative, Ohio Crime Lab Efficiency Program, Ohio Violent Crime Reduction Grant Program, Ohio Court Backlog Reduction Program, and the new eWarrant database.