MOUNT VERNON — Improving the efficiency of the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation crime lab is at the top of his priority list, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine told local officials Monday evening.
“We’re putting more money into the crime lab, more people, more technology and are looking at overall productivity,” he said. “It will take a while (to improve things), but it is important.”
DeWine said that when he took office in January, he found out that the average delay in processing DNA information from crimes is 125 days.
Some cases are moved to the top of the priority list, especially crimes where children are victims (which he said was a policy already in place). Other personal injury cases are also given priority over crimes involving only property loss.
And if a suspect is in custody and a prosecutor says they’re running out of time and might have to release the suspect, that case will also get priority.
“There are delays, but we’re working on it,” DeWine said.
Other priorities include:
•Doubling the programs in the Ohio Police Officers Training Academy and moving more out “into the field” so they’ll be easier for officers from small towns and counties to attend.
•Prescription drug traffic. No part of the state is without a problem and any department in the state that can help is being enlisted in a task force to tackle the problem. A major goal, he said, is changing the culture around the state medical and pharmacy boards so they take a more active role is disciplining doctors and pharmacists behind the traffic. He has also talked to the Florida attorney general and he thinks that state is coming around on fighting the problem. Many of the prescription drugs being sold illegally are from Florida.
Knox County Prosecutor John Thatcher commented that problems with prescription drugs are becoming more common than problems with heroin or cocaine in Knox County.
•The “internet cafe.” “It’s neither on the Internet or a cafe, but the problem of gambling with ‘glorified slot machines’ is spreading all over,” DeWine said.