(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced today that funding is now available to reimburse local law enforcement agencies for the cost of extraditing dangerous wanted offenders back to Ohio to face criminal charges.
Governor DeWine secured $500,000 in the 2020-2021 biennium budget to fund Ohio’s new Prisoner Extradition Reimbursement Program, which will reimburse Ohio law enforcement agencies that have limited funds to extradite suspects arrested out-of-state or in another jurisdiction on warrants for Tier I offenses.
Tier I offenses are defined as felony offenses of violence outlined in ORC 2901.01(A)(9); felony offenses that involve substantial risk to public or officer safety; and the misdemeanor offenses of domestic violence and aggravated menacing.
“We know that some law enforcement agencies in Ohio don’t always have the resources to travel across the state or country to take an offender into custody, which is why these new grants will be instrumental in ensuring that more dangerous offenders return to Ohio to answer for their crimes,” said Governor DeWine. “We also believe that this program will enhance public safety by increasing the number of warrants entered into the state and national warrant databases.”
Governor DeWine directed the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Office of Criminal Justice Services to develop the grant program last year after a study by the Ohio Governor’s Warrant Task Force revealed that some local law enforcement agencies do not enter all felony warrants into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) warrant database due to lack of funding or personnel to extradite suspects arrested in another state.
According to the study, more than 17,500 Tier I warrants were entered into Ohio’s Law Enforcement Automated Data System (LEADS) database as of March 2019, but less than half of those warrants were also entered into the national NCIC database, posing a risk to the public and to law enforcement officers who unknowingly encounter wanted suspects in other states.
Although there are currently no laws in Ohio requiring that law enforcement agencies enter open warrants into the state or national law enforcement databases, Governor DeWine’s STRONG Ohio plan includes legislation to mandate the entry of Tier I warrants and certain protection orders into both LEADS and NCIC within 48 hours. InnovateOhio, whose mission includes using technology in government to improve services, is working to develop a system to help law enforcement quickly and efficiently manage the proposed new mandate.
Any law enforcement agency in Ohio that has limited means to fund an extradition is eligible for reimbursement through the new program. The grant funding can be used to reimburse costs associated with transporting offenders from another state or another Ohio jurisdiction, including mileage, personnel, and other travel expenses.
Applications will be accepted until all available funds have been awarded. More information on the grant, including application information, is available at www.ocjs.ohio.gov