COLUMBUS, OH (WOIO) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced Thursday the development of three initiatives that will intensify Ohio's ability to monitor more than 19,000 convicted sex offenders living in the state.
The new initiatives include:
*Online Registration: The Attorney General's Office will provide sheriffs' offices in Ohio with new technology that will give sex offenders the option of updating their registration information online. The offender then has five days to confirm that information in person. The prefilled information program will expedite the reporting process and help alert sheriffs' offices as to when the offender may be appearing.
*Smartphone Verification Application: The Attorney General's Office will also give sheriffs' investigators a smartphone application that, during investigations such as a sexual assault or missing person case, will allow the officer to search for sex offenders' addresses within a quarter-mile radius of the phone. Investigators who conduct onsite compliance checks will also be able to immediately update the status of a sex offender who is found to be non-compliant. The new information will upload directly to the state sex offender database.
*Partnership with U.S. Marshals Service: Agents with the Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) Crimes Against Children Unit will work in coordination with the U.S. Marshals Service and local law enforcement to assist with locating and extraditing non-compliant offenders who, in the past, may not have been pursued due to budget limitations. "Ohio has always taken an aggressive, proactive approach to developing tools, processes, and procedures for tracking and monitoring sex offenders," said DeWine. "We will now be even more efficient at keeping tabs on these convicted criminals living in Ohio's neighborhoods."
The new tracking efforts are expected to begin within the next several months, and are funded, in part, by a $269,842 Adam Walsh Act Implementation grant awarded by the Department of Justice's Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking Office (SMART). The Attorney General made today's announcements as part of this year's Ohio Law Enforcement Conference in Columbus, which is a two-day event with 1,000 people, mostly Ohio law enforcement officers, in attendance.