The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

March 20, 2014

Mike DeWine talks with Ashtabula County law enforcement officials

Staff Writer

JEFFERSON — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine led a roundtable discussion, with local law enforcement officials, Wednesday afternoon, to discuss new initiatives and gather feedback and concerns.

DeWine said his office works every day to protect Ohio families by working with local law enforcement and prosecutors. Local law enforcement officials call on DeWine’s office for assistance with rape cases, drug analysis and assistance with reconstructing crime scenes, he said.

One of the topics of the discussion was the growing heroin problem. DeWine said, while the problem persists in Ashtabula County, it is a statewide problem plaguing many other counties across Ohio.

One of the new initiatives through DeWine’s office is a heroin unit that provides expertise to local law enforcement to help combat the problem. DeWine could not elaborate on the specifics as much of the information is law enforcement sensitive.

“The goal is to get the bigger fish, the bigger dealers,” he said.

Another initiative DeWine’s office is working on is assisting local law enforcement with child predator cases.

DeWine said this unit has been very successful in locating child predators who are sharing or viewing child pornography online as well as molesting children.

Local law enforcement will also have the opportunity to undergo some additional training through the Ohio Peace Officer’s Training Academy, through DeWine’s office.

DeWine said the academy has mobile simulators that will be brought to Ashtabula County for the training.

The simulators include a driving simulator as well as one that will simulate a serious situation. As an example, the training could consist of simulating a situation where someone has a gun and an officer will have a split second to make a life or death decision, DeWine said.

The Attorney General’s office has also made its crime lab available to local municipalities for the purpose of testing old, untested rape kits.

“Rape kits are found to be sitting around at police departments untested,” he said. “Cleveland had 4,000 of them.”

DeWine said this effort is enabling local police departments across the state to locate rapists from as far back as 15 years ago. So far 3,000 untested rape kits have been tested statewide, he said.

“CSI is not just something you see on TV,” he said. “It’s what we are doing every day.”