October 25, 2012

New sex offender tracking technology, life-saving training for law enforcement

10-25-2012 Ohio:

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The development of three new initiatives will intensify Ohio's ability to monitor more than 19,000 convicted sex offenders living in the state.

The Ohio Attorney General's Office will provide sheriffs' offices in the state 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 information program will expedite the reporting process and help alert sheriffs' offices as to when the offender may be appearing.

A smartphone verification app for police offices has also been created. During sexual assault or missing persons investigations, the app allow officers 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.

Last, agents with the AG's office have partnered with U.S. Marshals and others to help 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 Ohio Attorney General Mike 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).

Also announced Thursday were several new law enforcement initiatives, including a new training tool that could potentially save lives of police officers by better preparing them for use-of-force situations and high-speed pursuits.

Peace officers will now have access to state-of-the-art training through the new "Mobile Academy" program offered by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA). The academy features tactical firearm and driving simulators to help officers prepare for high risk situations.

The Mobile Academy's three driving simulators and three firearms simulators are portable, allowing OPOTA instructors to bring the equipment to any law enforcement agency in the state, free of charge. Each simulator can train officers on hundreds of scenarios that play out on high-definition video screens.

The simulators, which each cost several thousand dollars, were purchased with funds from Ohio's casinos. Two-percent of Ohio's casino taxes are deposited into the Attorney General's Law Enforcement Training Fund. ..Source.. by Tina Kaufmann

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