BCI cuts DNA turnaround times 84 percent

Reduction comes as submissions rise 34 percent
The Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation has reduced turnaround times for DNA evidence from an average of 125 days to 20 days over the past two years. Cutting turnaround times has been a priority for Attorney General Mike DeWine, who as a former prosecutor knows first-hand the link between quick analysis and public safety. He made reducing the times a prime focus when he took office in 2011. “The sooner we can process crime scene evidence, the sooner we can arrest the perpetrator,” he said. “In special cases, when law enforcement agencies feel they absolutely need the information back right away, we have the ability to turn evidence around in 72 hours.” He urges agencies to alert BCI of the need for quick analysis in special circumstances. In December 2010, it took BCI an average of 125 days to report DNA results to law enforcement. This past December, it had that figure down to 20 days, an 84 percent reduction. That came despite a 34 percent increase in DNA evidence submissions by law enforcement. About 90 percent of Ohio agencies use BCI’s lab, which tested more than 161,000 pieces of evidence in 2012.
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An Ohio man, high on “bath salts,” was shot by police while holding his girlfriend at knifepoint. After using “spice,” a Texas man assaulted his housemates and beat, strangled, and bit off pieces of a pet dog’s flesh. A Louisiana man slit his throat in front of his family after snorting “bath salts.” The Attorney General’s Office has stepped up efforts to fight the abuse and sale of synthetic drugs, which endanger users, law enforcement, medical personnel, and others. Here are ways the office can help local authorities: • The Bureau of Criminal Investigation can provide investigative assistance, including undercover agents, money for drug buys, surveillance cameras, digital recorders, and body wires. For help, call 855-BCI-OHIO (224-6446).

• The Special Prosecutions Unit can assist in bringing cases, talk prosecutors through options, suggest expert witnesses, and provide sample motions and indictments. For assistance, call 614-644-7233. • Beginning in February, the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy will offer regional courses detailing how to investigate synthetic drug cases and collect evidence against Ohio distributors. Courses will be listed at www.OhioAttorney General.gov/OPOTA. “Whether it’s the users who consume them, the families that suffer the aftermath, or the law enforcement officers who must deal with both, synthetic drugs are destroying many lives,” Attorney General Mike DeWine said in announcing the additional

assistance. “People mistakenly think that, because this stuff comes in what appear to be commercial packages and is readily available over the counter and on the Internet, it’s safe. It’s not.”

Tougher law takes effect
One new tool in the fight is a tougher state law. Attorney General DeWine testified in support of the measure, which passed the General Assembly unanimously. Aspects of the measure dealing with synthetic drugs took effect when Gov. John Kasich signed it Dec. 20. It builds on a 2011 statute that banned substances law enforcement and lab personnel were seeing at that time.
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Nothing is more important than protecting our kids from harm. Unfortunately, the horrific school shooting in Connecticut and the tragedy in our own state last year in Chardon remind us how difficult that task can be. Creating the safest possible learning environments for our children can only be accomplished by working together. For the Attorney General’s Office, that means partnering with the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), other associations, and law enforcement throughout the state on initiatives, trainings, and other measures. For local law enforcement agencies, it means working with their communities’ teachers, administrators, parents, and school boards. Safety planning offers an excellent opportunity for ongoing conversations between local law enforcement and their schools. As you know, all Ohio schools must file school safety plans with my office. All but a small percentage have complied, however the quality of those plans varies widely. Ensuring that the plans are comprehensive and reflect best practices should be a constant process involving all segments of a local community,

particularly law enforcement. I encourage you to reach out to your schools to offer insight and assistance. My office’s School Safety Task Force developed guidelines for the plans that can serve as a valuable resource. They are available at www.OHLEG.org. Through a partnership between my office and ODE, the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) will offer a new course for educators across Ohio. The free course, Active Shooter Training for Educators, provides guidance on responding to an active shooting and taking preventive measures. I suggest teams of local law enforcement and school officials attend together to enhance planning and communication. OPOTA also offers free Profile of an Active Shooter and Single Officer Response to Active Shooter trainings to law enforcement. All of these courses will be listed at www.OhioAttorney General.gov/OPOTA as they are scheduled. We think of first responders as law enforcement and fire departments. But when there is a school emergency, educators really are the first responders. We need to adopt a holistic approach

Plans cover array of incidents
School safety plans must address planned responses to these emergencies: • Natural disaster/severe weather • Fire/explosion • Active shooter • Hostage situation • Bomb threat • Medical emergency • Significant accident such as a bus crash or chemical spill • Act of terrorism to prepare them for any threat they may face and to ensure our schools have effective plans to guide their response to emergencies. Very respectfully yours,

Mike DeWine Ohio Attorney General

AG shares RECLAIM Ohio’s success
Attorney General Mike DeWine recently testified before a subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee about RECLAIM Ohio, a successful juvenile justice reform initiative launched in the 1990s. “RECLAIM Ohio has functioned as it was designed,” Attorney General DeWine told the committee, which is working to end the “school-to-prison pipeline” that sends a rising number of young people into the juvenile delinquency system as a result of school discipline. The program, under then-Lieutenant Governor DeWine’s oversight, sought to place youths in settings best able to address their needs and reduce violence in state facilities. “RECLAIM Ohio works because it avoids institutionalizing low-risk youths, instead keeping them with their families and peers, in their school and community,” he added. Before RECLAIM Ohio — short for Reasoned and Equitable Community and Local Alternatives for the Incarceration of Minors — some state facilities housed nearly twice as many youths as intended, good programming was scarce, and many incarcerated youths were simply learning criminal skills. RECLAIM Ohio expanded alternatives to state incarceration by ensuring that if a juvenile stayed in the community, so did the funding. As a result of the program and subsequent efforts, the Department of Youth Services population has dropped from more than 2,600 a decade ago to about 550 last year. Plus, every dollar spent to keep youths close to home saves up to $45 compared to the cost of sending them to a state facility.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

UPDATE

Criminal Justice Update typically is published four times a year by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, primarily for members of Ohio’s criminal justice community. To share story ideas or alert us to address changes, contact Editor Mary Alice Casey at 614-728-5417 or Mary.Alice.Casey@OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov. Volume 5, Issue 1 WINTER 2013 Copyright 2013 by Ohio Attorney General’s Office 30 E. Broad St., 17th Floor Columbus, OH 43215 www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/ CriminalJusticeUpdate

2 CRIMINAL JUSTICE UPDATE

VANTAGE POINT

eOPOTA course addresses non-stranger sexual assault
Because about two-thirds of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim, sexual assault cases can be difficult from the start. A new eOPOTA course, Responding to Sexual Assault, can help law enforcement and prosecutors better understand sexual assault dynamics and how perpetrators take advantage of societal myths and misconceptions. The course stresses a coordinated response model — from initial report through investigation. It covers investigating whether consent was given, corroborating the victim’s report, identifying potential perpetrators, and pursuing the most effective interview and investigation strategies. “The role of other first responders is covered as well, so law enforcement officers have a strong understanding that they are not working these cases in isolation,” said Sandy Huntzinger, a victim services coordinator with the Attorney General’s Office. “They are supported by local advocates, health care providers, prosecutors, and other community support agencies in the hopes of providing the best outcome for victims of sexual assault.” This and other eOPOTA courses offered by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy are available at www.OHLEG.org. In addition, OPOTA will offer a classroom course, Sexual Assault Investigation, at the Richfield campus July 15–17 and the London campus Oct. 29–31. The course covers sex crime investigations, suspect/victim interviews, report writing, crime scene evidence collection, lab submission protocols, standards and testimony, legal issues, and more. For additional information or to register, visit www. OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/OPOTACourses.

The Keesha Mitchell File
On working with local partners
We have our highest-ever number of open cases right now, in large part because of outreach to local law enforcement and prosecutors as well as to our federal and state partners. We want to stress that we’re available for local law enforcement agencies. So if you need assistance with a case involving patient neglect or abuse, financial exploitation, or drug diversion in a care facility, call us (614-466-0722). We’ll be involved to the extent that you want us to be involved. Likewise, we really work to partner with the county prosecutors’ offices. They’re the ones who are most knowledgeable about the care facilities in their county and how best to bring cases in their courts. Current role: Mitchell has been chief of the Attorney General’s Health Care Fraud Section since mid-2010. Previous jobs: She was the section’s assistant chief for seven years and, before that, served as an assistant attorney general in its Workers’ Compensation Unit. Prior to joining the AG’s office, she was an attorney with the Franklin County Public Defender’s Office. Education: She holds a bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., where she majored in political science, and a law degree from The Ohio State University. Family: Her family includes husband Michael, a fourth-grade teacher for Columbus City Schools, and three children, ages 16, 15, and 10. For fun: She enjoys reading, exercise, and watching her children compete in basketball, golf, cross country, and baseball.

On abuse and neglect cases
We have statewide jurisdiction to investigate patient abuse and neglect. Most of our referrals come from the Ohio Department of Health, because care facilities are mandated to report abuse or neglect to that department. If we think a referral rises to the level of a criminal case, we investigate. In those instances, we send a letter to the local law enforcement agency to let them know that we’ll be in their jurisdiction investigating or, if they are already looking into the matter, that we can work alongside them. If they don’t need our help, we close our case.

On resources available for local investigations
We’ve added to our surveillance capabilities, and that’s an important tool we share with prosecutors and law enforcement agencies. For instance, in theft cases within care facilities, we’ve had very good success putting in cameras and finding the perpetrator. Using surveillance video, we are able to get thieves who prey on the elderly to admit to many unsolved thefts. We also use surveillance cameras in home health cases, situations in which you have aides billing the state for, say, 18 hours of services a day when they’re only providing two. And in care facilities, we’ve been able to get evidence of the diversion of patient medications.

Survey seeks information on Ohio’s sexual assault response
The Attorney General’s Crime Victim Services Section is conducting a survey to better understand the challenges and barriers Ohio communities face in addressing the issue of sexual assault. Responses will assist the office in identifying where Sexual Assault Response Teams (SARTs) exist, where resources and response to sexual assault reports are limited, and if assistance is needed to sustain an existing SART. Respondents’ specific information will not be shared outside of the Crime Victim Services Section. Please visit www. OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/SAFE to take the survey.
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On pursuing unethical doctors
We have statewide jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute Medicaid fraud. If officers think there are drug buys going on in a physician’s parking lot, for instance, that’s a situation where we don’t have jurisdiction over Medicaid recipient fraud, but we do have jurisdiction over Medicaid provider fraud. So if doctors are writing prescriptions that are medically unnecessary and the prescriptions are getting filled with a Medicaid card, we have jurisdiction. And often, the best way to prosecute unethical physicians, instead of having to prove aggravated trafficking, is to prove false billing to the Medicaid program. We can certainly partner in those cases.
READ MORE: Read an extended interview with Keesha Mitchell at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/CriminalJusticeUpdate.

Lifetime Achievement Award Detective Jeffrey S. Collins Columbus Division of Police One sign of a person’s influence is the number of people who follow in his path. By that and many other measures, Detective Jeffery S. Collins can take great pride in his life’s work. His daughter Heather is a Columbus detective, and several members of the Boy Scout Explorer Post that Collins advised also are with Ohio police departments. When Collins realized that many post members had dropped out of school, he launched a program to help them prepare for the GED. Still, they felt their lack of a “real” diploma would hold them back — until Collins showed them his own GED diploma. In his 39 years with the force, Collins worked in the Patrol, Radio, SWAT, Crime Scene Search, Special Forces Airport, Ordnance, and Detective Bureau, earning many commendations from citizens, colleagues, and supervisors. Training Award Captain Dale A. Soltis Summit County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Dale A. Soltis is a born teacher. A member of the Summit County Sheriff’s Office since 1985, Soltis holds a bachelor’s degree in education, which he’s put to good use. Soltis earned his peace officer instructor certificate in 1991 and has amassed a mountain of training and instructor certificates in the years since. His students have ranged from law enforcement officers enrolled in firearms, ethics, and other courses to adults in Red Cross CPR classes to youngsters in DARE. He was named training division commander in 2006 and is a go-to instructor for his and other departments as well as basic academies. Service Award Assistant Chief Cindy M. Combs Cincinnati Police Department Leadership is in Lt. Col. Cindy M. Combs’ blood. Combs retired in April after 32 years with the Cincin-

nati Police Department, including more than 10 years as assistant chief of police. She was the first woman in her department to fill that role. As assistant chief, she oversaw a budget of more than $100 million along with grants, human resources, information technology and records functions, police academy operations, training, and evidence management. She co-developed Cincinnati’s Neighborhood Enhancement Program, named the top program of its kind in the U.S. in 2008, and she spearheaded the purchase and build-out of the Cincinnati-Hamilton County Regional Operations Center, which houses emergency communication, IT, crime analysis, and tactical planning functions. Group Achievement Award Northwest Ohio Violent Crimes Against Children Task Force Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent James E. Hardie, Task Force Coordinator Special Agent Laura E. Lebo Victim Specialist Jennifer Jo Meyers Bureau of Criminal Investigation Special Agent David W. Pauly Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Stacy L. Stidham Lima Police Department Investigator David R. Gillispie Perrysburg Township Police Department Detective Scott C. Moskowitz Toledo Police Department Detective Peter J. Swartz Fulton County Sheriff’s Office Agent Alessandra Norden Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office Detective Amy J. Harrell Getting any federal task force off the ground takes time and hard work, and the Northwest Ohio Violent Crimes

Against Children Task Force was no exception. Today, the efforts are paying off. Formed in 2006 to combat a significant juvenile sex trafficking problem in Toledo, the task force is one of 44 operating under the FBI’s Innocence Lost National Initiative. The task force has recovered or identified more than 100 juvenile victims of prostitution since its inception and is involved in about 40 active investigations. Since 2010, it has charged about 25 subjects, and many have been convicted. The task force was among three of 44 asked to participate in the FBI’s national Crimes Against Children Unit best-practices symposium to showcase its work with victims. Group Achievement Award Muskingum County Sheriff’s Office Members of the Muskingum County Sheriff’s Office faced a situation the night of Oct. 18, 2011, that no law enforcement officer would ever dream of confronting: A resident whose farm abutted Interstate 70 just minutes west of Zanesville had released 48 exotic animals and taken his own life. Amazingly, the only human life lost was that of the animals’ owner. But deputies were forced to shoot dozens of creatures to ensure public safety, including 18 tigers, 17 lions, three mountain lions, and two bears. In response, Ohio legislators passed a law that bans the acquisition, sale, and breeding of restricted species beginning in January 2014 and requires current owners to register their animals with the state. Group Achievement Award Chardon Police Department Geauga County Sheriff’s Office Geauga County Prosecutor’s Office Bureau of Criminal Investigation Chester Township Police Department Ohio State Highway Patrol Federal Bureau of Investigation Several law enforcement officers responding to the shooting at Chardon High School in February had children in the school. But they still got right to work, trusting that school officials would safeguard their kids. School District

4 CRIMINAL JUSTICE UPDATE

‘We’re gathered today to honor exceptional law enforcement officers who have dedicated their careers to protecting Ohio’s families. It is my honor and privilege to present these awards.’
— Attorney General Mike DeWine

Colleagues recognize sheriff’s 48 years at the helm
Former Pickaway County Sheriff Dwight E. Radcliff is in a class all his own. Radcliff, who retired in January, was elected in 1964 — when gas cost 30 cents a gallon and the Beatles held the top five Billboard slots. At the time of his retirement, he was the longest-serving sheriff in America. Known as a devoted, no-nonsense lawman, Radcliff was honored in October at the Ohio Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Conference, where he received a Lifetime Achievement Award. In his 48 years as sheriff, Radcliff oversaw the modernization of his department, the influx of technology, and the growth of both his staff (from 11 members to 84) and his jail (from 40 beds to 110). He was a longtime member of the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission and served on the LEADS steering committee since its inception. He led the Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association in the ’70s and the National Sheriffs’ Association in the ’80s.

Superintendent Joseph Bergant said that typified officers’ heroism throughout the ordeal. Within minutes of the 911 call, first responders were on the scene, where six students had been shot in the school cafeteria. Three of the students died, and another was paralyzed. Intelligence gathered from hundreds of students, teachers, and administrators revealed a suspect, whom authorities tracked through the woods and apprehended within the first hour. He faces multiple charges, including three counts of aggravated murder. Meritorious Service Award Officer Stephen Bower Cincinnati Police Department Office Stephen Bower was working an off-duty detail in northeast Cincinnati in the early morning hours of Aug. 2, 2011, when the manager of a nearby bar asked him to respond to a fight in a parking lot. The officer positioned his cruiser in an adjoining parking lot to get a good view of the scene and saw a subject firing toward a crowd. When Bower ordered the man to drop his gun, the suspect fired at him and fled the parking lot. The officer began to pursue him when shots rang out from the area where onlookers had gathered. Bower abandoned the pursuit and took cover, and the shooters fled. Later, a man believed to be the original suspect sought treatment for a gunshot wound and was arrested. Meritorious Service Award Officer Theodore Davis Officer Joel A. Moledor Cuyahoga Falls Police Department Officers Theodore Davis and Joel A. Moledor were dispatched to a Cuyahoga Falls residence shortly after midnight on Nov. 21, 2011, and heard a woman screaming for help and her estranged husband yelling at her in a locked garage. Moledor kicked in a side door of the garage, and the officers found the woman on the ground bleeding and the man holding a knife. On officers’ orders, the man dropped his weapon and was taken into custody. He was charged with five crimes, including attempted murder.

Meritorious Service Award Patrolman Kyle Nietert University Heights Police Department Five family members have Patrolman Kyle Nietert to thank for their lives following a 2 a.m. house fire on July 9, 2011. Already on patrol nearby, Nietert arrived at the home 45 seconds after the emergency broadcast. A man leaning from an upstairs window shouted that he, his wife, and three children were trapped on the second floor by flames and smoke. Within three minutes of his arrival, and before fire units arrived, Patrolman Nietert rescued the family, whose members suffered only minor smoke inhalation. He also assisted three firefighters injured in the blaze, one seriously. Meritorious Service Award Officer Diondre Winstead Cincinnati Police Department Officer Diondre Winstead responded to Cincinnati’s College Hill neighborhood the evening of Nov. 5, 2011, to help apprehend an armed felon spotted by members of a local citizens’ patrol. The man fled on foot, and Officer Winstead gave chase. The subject jumped a three-foot wall onto an elevated driveway, where he pulled a gun and fired at the officer. Fearing injury to innocent people, Winstead did not return fire, but continued to pursue the subject. He and fellow officers found the man hiding in bushes and took him into custody. Valor Award Officer Ben Campbell Copley Police Department Responding to reports of an active shooter in a Copley neighborhood the morning of Aug. 7, 2011, Officer Ben Campbell tracked down and engaged the subject without waiting for backup. Afterward, he learned the man had just shot seven people to death and severely wounded another. The man went on the shooting spree as he and his girlfriend prepared for an out-of-state trip, shooting her, her family members, and neighbors. As the officer approached, the subject emerged from behind a tree and raised his gun. Campbell fired three shots, killing the subject.

Learn more: A video about Dwight Radcliff’s 48 years as sheriff appears at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/videos.

Dwight Radcliff followed in the footsteps of his father, Charles (shown with him above left), who was Pickaway County’s sheriff for nearly 30 years. At right, Radcliff poses with his son Robert, who succeeded him, and his wife, Betty, who was Pickaway County Jail’s matron and office manager for many years.

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Two Days in May focuses on helping Ohio’s most vulnerable citizens
The Ohio Attorney General’s Two Days in May Conference on Victim Assistance, set for May 14–15 at the Hyatt Regency Columbus, will focus on the theme of Empowering Ohio’s Most Vulnerable. State and national speakers, a symposium on bullying, and 33 workshops are planned. Certain vulnerable populations — children, elderly residents, people with mental illness, and others — face a higher risk of being victimized. This year’s conference will focus on the individual needs of such victims and ways to ensure they have access to quality, comprehensive services. Each year, the two-day conference draws about 1,000 victim advocates, law enforcement, mental health providers, and other criminal justice professionals who work with victims across the state. Online registration will be available in March at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/TDIM. In the meantime, nominations are being accepted through the website for the conference’s Special Achievement and Promising Practices awards.

Prescription drop boxes assist in Southern Ohio
Sixty-six Ohio law enforcement agencies are offering a new service to their communities under a prescription drug drop box pilot program. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office, the Ohio Department of Health, Drug Free Action Alliance, and National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators collaborated to provide the drug disposal bins. Most are in Southern Ohio, which has been hit especially hard by prescription drug abuse. The secure, mailbox-style bins can be used by residents during agencies’ business hours. Each department then properly disposes of the medication on a regular basis. Delhi Township Police Chief James Howarth said residents of his 10-square-mile jurisdiction west of Cincinnati turned in more than 18 pounds of medications in the program’s first month. “It’s been well-received,” Howarth said, noting that residents often asked him whether his department could accept medication for disposal outside of established Drug Take-Back Days. “It’s something I had always wanted to do, so when the Attorney General’s Office came up with it and provided a drop box at no cost to us, that was huge.” Depending on the results of the pilot, the program could expand statewide.

Online human trafficking courses meet Ohio’s training requirement
Ohio law requires peace officers to receive basic and advanced training in handling human trafficking violations. The Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) provides three online courses that meet the state mandate. The eOPOTA courses assist officers in identifying the crime, protecting the rights of victims, and collaborating with others to help victims. The courses are titled Awareness of Human Trafficking, Responding to Human Trafficking, and Ohio Human Trafficking. To receive credit, law enforcement officers should take them at www.OHLEG. org/eOPOTA. More information on human trafficking and courses accessible to the general public appear at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/ HumanTrafficking. OPOTA also offers classroom-based training on human trafficking. Courses are listed in the academy’s online course catalog at www.Ohio AtttorneyGeneral.gov/OPOTA.
6 CRIMINAL JUSTICE UPDATE

OPOTA expands Mobile Academy simulator training
The Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy is expanding use-of-force and defensive driving training by adding eight more simulators for instruction across the state. OPOTA unveiled three of each type of simulator during the Ohio Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Conference in October. The response prompted a decision to purchase four more driving and four more firearms simulators, for a total of 14. The simulators are offered through OPOTA’s Mobile Academy, which provides regional training around the state. The MILO Range Pro firearms simulators can be set up quickly within local departments, and the PatrolSim driving simulators are housed in mobile, climate-controlled trailers. To request training in your area, e-mail AskOPOTA@OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.

Crime Victim Services sets training dates
The AG’s Crime Victim Services Section has set 2013 training dates for three of its most sought-after offerings: • Non-Stranger Sexual Assault Response and Investigation is Feb. 7–8 at the Center for Economic Opportunity in Washington Court House. Students follow a sexual assault case from start to finish, hearing from an advocate, law enforcement officer, sexual assault nurse examiner, and prosecutor. • Finding Words will be offered April 22–26 and Oct. 21–25 at the Center for Family Safety and Healing at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. It teaches participants how to conduct a competent investigative interview of a child abuse victim. • The Basic Advocacy Skills in Crime Victim Services (BASICS) course, for professionals new to advocacy, will be offered Aug. 5–9 at the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy in London. To register or receive more information, call 800-582-2877.

LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVES
Victims’ Rights Senate Bill 160 Sponsors: Sens. Kevin Bacon, Jim Hughes Status: Both chambers passed bill; governor signed Dec. 20; takes effect March 22. Victims of first-, second-, and third-degree crimes of violence now must be notified when their perpetrators face proceedings related to release or transfer unless they opt out. The law mandates five years of post-release control for offenders, requires notification of the local prosecutor when offenders are released, and enables victims to change their names without public notice if they face a personal safety risk. Arson Registry Senate Bill 70 Sponsor: Sen. Tim Schaffer Status: Both chambers passed bill; governor signed Dec. 20; takes effect July 1. This law establishes a statewide arson registry, maintained by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and made available to law enforcement and fire service arson investigators.

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“Clever chemists stayed a step ahead of us. By just tweaking the recipe — adding several molecules here or changing several molecules there — chemists create a brand new drug,” Attorney General DeWine testified, referring to analog drugs that are only slightly different chemically than banned substances. “The synthetic drug problem is constantly evolving, and we can’t afford to risk falling behind.” The new law gives law enforcement a much wider and flexible net to crack down on manufacturers, distributors, and users of harmful substances masquerading as “herbal incense,” “glass cleaner,” “plant food,” “bath salts,” or novelty items.

To address methamphetamine production, the law requires retailers to note ephedrine and pseudoephedrine sales in a national database, limit purchases per customer to nine grams in 30 days and 3.6 grams in one day, and have purchasers sign a log.

Medical experts concerned
Dennis Mann, M.D., a physician with Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, shares the Attorney General’s concern about synthetic drugs. He saw a decline in emergency room visits for synthetic drug reactions after the passage of House Bill 64, but he knows other, more potent drugs popular in Europe and on the West Coast have made their way to Ohio. “There’s another generation of synthetic drugs on the horizon. They are far more hallucinogenic, and I think will result in far more psychotic, difficult-to-control behavior as they become more prevalent,” Mann said. “Another problem with these medications is that they last a long time. We may have to hospitalize someone for several days or a week before they return to a baseline level of behavior.”

Turnaround times
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Details of new statute
The law creates the offense of trafficking in and possession of controlled substance analogs and sets uniform bulk amounts for determining penalties. This provides for easier calculation of bulk amounts and better guidance for courts. It also reflects the risks analogs pose: Their toxicity level is unknown, quality control in the production process is nonexistent, and they’re sold in locations and packages that can lead users to think they’re safe. The only other change to the 2011 controlled substance analog law clarified language on affirmative defenses, placing the burden of proof on defendants rather than the state. The new law also brings Ohio drug laws in line with federal laws concerning controlled substances by banning whole classes of synthetic cannabinoids along with many 2C compounds. It also bans a class of compounds popularly referred to as “bath salts” and some specific compounds in situations when information related to the entire class of those compounds continues to be developed. All affected compounds are listed in Ohio Revised Code Section 3719.41.

To reduce turnaround times, BCI hired 21 additional scientists for its Forensic Biology and DNA units over the past two years. In addition, the DNA and CODIS units now have twice as many robots — 12 in all — to aid in developing DNA profiles and adding them to the Combined DNA Index System database. Newark authorities say BCI’s quick work was crucial in identifying a suspect in the October rape of a 15-year-old girl. When a rape kit produced no probative evidence, BCI tested evidence from the scene. Within two days, police were advised of a CODIS hit. After news of the the suspect’s arrest, another woman reported being attacked by the same man in July. He is scheduled to stand trial in April on six charges. “It was absolutely critical,” Newark Detective Steve Vanoy said of BCI’s role in the case. “It made the interview of the suspect that much easier because we knew it was him.” Licking County Prosecutor Kenneth Oswalt said the quick arrest likely prevented other rapes. “This is a very good example of how turnaround times can make a huge difference in getting violent offenders off the street,” he said. “I have to believe that if this suspect had not been arrested for several months while we were waiting for DNA results, he would have reoffended.”
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Distributors take note
The Attorney General sent a letter to retailers statewide in November advising them of the risk involved in selling synthetic drugs. Previously available at gas station and convenience store checkouts, the drugs are still being sold to customers who know what to ask for. “Some store owners and employees continue to sell these drugs under the table, despite knowing how dangerous they are,” Attorney General DeWine said, adding this warning: “Anyone who sells or distributes these drugs should be prepared for both criminal charges and a civil lawsuit.”

KEY EVENTS IN 2013
Ohio Peace Officers’ Memorial Ceremony When: May 2 Where: Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy in London For information: Call 740-845-2684. Two Days in May Conference on Victim Assistance When: May 14–15 Where: Hyatt Regency Columbus For information: Visit www. OhioAttorney General.gov/ TDIM or e-mail TDIM@Ohio AttorneyGeneral.gov. Ohio Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Conference When: Oct. 29–30 Where: Hyatt Regency Columbus For information: Visit www. OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/ LEConference or call 740-845-2684.

Badges for Baseball a home run
Hundreds of kids took part in Ohio’s Badges for Baseball program in 2012, including these Zanesville area children interacting with Muskingum County Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Merry (left) and Youngstown area children with BCI Special Agent Ed Carlini (right). The Ohio Attorney General’s Office and Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation sponsor the program.

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