by J.D. Davidson
Ohio plans to use more federal COVID-19 money to help local law enforcement agencies reduce violent crime, Gov. Mike DeWine announced.
The state plans to add $50 million from American Recovery Plan Act funds to the Ohio Violent Crime Reduction Grant Program, which began this year with $8 million in the state budget.
“One of the most important things that we can do to support our law enforcement officers is to give them the tools they need to keep themselves and the public safe,” DeWine said. “By significantly increasing the amount of funding available, we can help more law enforcement agencies better combat crime and protect their communities.”
The $50 million is part of $250 million in ARPA money the General Assembly and DeWine dedicated to first responders in December. The money was set aside to help with pressing issues created by the COVID-19 pandemic, which DeWine said includes increased crime rates associated with a high number of law enforcement retirements and resignations.
“When law enforcement agencies are short-staffed, they are often forced to reduce their proactive or preventative policing initiatives, which can cause crime to spike,” DeWine said. “In an effort to support ongoing, proactive initiatives centered on the reduction of violent crime, funding will be available for things like recruitment efforts, retention bonuses, hiring bonuses, and payroll costs.”
The money can be used for things like starting or expanding violent crime reduction programs. Grants will also be given for technology, equipment, training, technical assistance, analytical tools and support and overtime costs associated with starting crime reduction strategies.
It’s DeWine’s second announcement in less than a week of ARPA funds to be given to communities to help fight violent crime.
Late last week, he announced $10 million to help speed up efforts to identify criminals responsible for deadly shootings and other incidents of gun violence.
The plan is part of the new Ohio Ballistics Testing Initiative that will more than double the number of National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) units.
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An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. Davidson is a regional editor for The Center Square.
Photo “protests” by Becker1999 CC BY 2.0.