The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

April 29, 2012

LaECI enforcement bill passes the House

AUSTINBURG TOWNSHIP — The Ohio House has approved legislation that would ensure state police would always be in charge of law enforcement duties within the privately-owned Lake Erie Correctional Institution, officials said.

State Rep. Casey Kozlowski, R-Pierpont, confirmed Thursday that House Bill 487 has passed the House and is heading to the Ohio Senate for review. The bill contains an amendment that authorizes the Ohio State Highway Patrol to investigate felony-level crimes that occur within the prison based in Conneaut.

The bill, if it passes, would mean the Conneaut Police Department would never be burdened with prison cases.

“It’s good news for the city of Conneaut,” Kozlowski said.

Law Director David Schroeder agreed. “It’s a large step forward to a permanent guarantee,” he said Thursday night.

Enforcement duty within the prison has been a big concern for the city since Corrections Corporation of America bought the prison from the state, a transaction that took effect at the start of the year. City and police officials feared the responsibility of investigating prison crime would fall to the local police department, an obligation administrators said would put a severe strain on manpower and resources.

At a prison summit held late last year, state officials said they were confident the OHP would continue to investigate prison cases, just as they have since the prison opened 12 years ago. Troopers are charged with investigating crimes on state property, including prisons.

But the arrangement ran afoul of the Fraternal Order of Police and Buckeye Sheriffs Association, which argued state troopers should not work inside the LaECI because it is now private property. “It was a very, very contentious piece of legislation,” Schroeder said.

A few weeks ago, a compromise had been floated that would limit OHP involvement in private security to the Conneaut prison, officials have said. The new language proved unnecessary, Kozlowski said.

“Ultimately, (lawmakers) felt the legislation was the right thing to do and the most logical thing to do,” he said.

Kozlowski said he based his arguments in support of the measure on reaction and comments from the people who knew the situation the best.

“Everything was based on the constituency back at home,” he said. “That’s how I formulated my arguments (in Columbus).”

State Sen. Capri Cafaro, D-Hubbard, could not be immediately reached for comment Friday afternoon on the bill’s chances in the Senate.

Click here to subscribe to The Star Beacon print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Star Beacon replica edition.

Text Only
Local News
Canoe Race and Ashtabula Easter Events
Good Friday Cross Walks and Easter Egg Hunts
Spring Comes Alive
Ashtabula Spring Cleaning
The Taping of the Teacher: A sticky Sitation
Saturday Fun in Ashtabula County March 22, 2014
American Red Cross Ashtabula County Heroes Breakfast
Rotary Club Dodge Ball Tournament
18th Annual Polar Bear Plunge at Geneva State Park
End of year weather extremes
Christmas 2013
Harpersfield Barn Fire
Route 11 Rescue Plymouth Township
Ashtabula Fire
House Ads
AP Video
NDN Video
Lupita Nyong'o Named People's 'Most Beautiful' Stephen Colbert Tells David Letterman His Plan for 'Late Show' Georgetown police officer filmed tripping students Viral: It's Not Pitbull - It's Amy Poehler! Recycling Highlights for Earth Day Peeps Launched into Outer Space NYPD's Twitter Request For Photos Backfires New HBO Go Commercials Capture Awkward Family TV Watching Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Rise of the Milkbots Jenna Dewan-Tatum Strips Down TRENDING: Brian Williams Raps 'Gin and Juice' on ‘Tonight Show’ Middle School heroes rescue students from burning bus WHOPPER OF FISHING STORY: Florida man catches massive Mako shark Maks Chmerkovskiy's "DWTS" Meltdown The many faces of Mike Woodson Ape Builds A Fire And Toasts Marshmallows In Amazing BBC Video Manchester Utd sack manager David Moyes "RHOA's" Dramatic Brawl High school, College Drug Ring Busted In Montgomery County