Careful DNA collection streamlines process
The Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s CODIS Unit processes more than 5,000 felony convicted offender and arrestee DNA samples each month and since July has handled all aspects of the procedure in house. Here are some ways law enforcement officers can help streamline the process:
Check your subject’s computerized criminal history record in OHLEG to see if his DNA is already on file, eliminating the need for an
On the Collection Form, make sure the thumbprint is rolled from cuticle to cuticle and is legible. (The thumbprint box has been enlarged.)
In the form’s Subject Verified section, indicate whether you used Livescan/RapidID, an administration source or government ID, or if you were unable to verify the subject’s identity.
Be sure to write the offender’s full name and Incident Tracking Number (ITN) or BCI number on the swab handle.
For full instructions, view the DNA Collection Webinar on eOPOTA at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/OPOTA. For DNA kits or more information, call 855-BCI-OHIO (224-6446) or e-mail CODIS@OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov. The mailbox is monitored during business hours.
CODIS database reaches milestone
10,000 hits. That’s the milestone BCI’s CODIS database reached Sept. 14, 2012.
Since it was established in 2002, the database has grown to 422,229 convicted offender DNA samples, 49,361 arrestee samples, and
28,823 forensic samples.
Under a 16-month-old state law that requires the collection of DNA from arrestees, the database is growing more rapidly, resulting in an average of 140 hits per month.
OPOTA debuts online course registration
The Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy has introduced online registration for its regional and on-campus courses. Through the new registration system:
Peace officers can search and register for OPOTA courses through the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway (OHLEG).
Designated agency “approvers” will receive an e-mail alerting them to training requests.
Once a request is approved, the officer and approver will receive e-mail confirmation.
Approvers can view their officers’ OPOTA training history to enhance agency training records.
For information on activating your agency’s online registration account, e-mail OPOTARegistration@OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.
OPOTA courses meet human trafficking mandate
Ohio’s new human trafficking law requires peace officers to receive basic and advanced training in handling human trafficking violations. To help law enforcement agencies satisfy the requirement, the Attorney General’s Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy offers courses that assist officers in identifying the crime, recognizing and protecting the rights of victims, and collaborating with nongovernmental and social service organizations to help victims.
Two options — classroom-based training and online courses — are available, and both satisfy the law’s mandate.
For a list of classroom-based trainings, visit www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/OPOTACourses and search for “human trafficking.” For online options through eOPOTA, visit www.OHLEG.org/eOPOTA. Awareness of Human Trafficking and Responding to Human Trafficking are already available. A third eOPOTA course highlighting aspects of the new law is in development. Successful completion of all three online courses will fulfill the mandated training requirement.
For more information, e-mail askOPOTA@OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.
18 telemarketing ring suspects in custody
All 18 suspects in a multi-state telemarketing ring are in custody in Ohio or Florida, and two of those indicted already have pleaded guilty. Trials for the others are scheduled this fall and next spring. The Ohio Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Unit is prosecuting the cases.
The individuals are accused of operating a criminal enterprise of at least three different companies that targeted victims nationwide who owned inexpensive, vacant land throughout the United States. Landowners were fed a series of lies over the phone and led to believe their land was worth up to 15 times its assessed value.
They were told they had to pay fees of $500 to almost $16,000 to guarantee the sale of their land. The enterprise was formed in Ohio in 2007 and operated from many locations, including Troy, Huber Heights, and Vandalia. Later, the operation opened branches in the Tampa, Fla., area.
The 18 suspects were indicted in June for engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity; conspiracy; aggravated theft of $1.5 million or more; telecommunications fraud; money laundering; and telemarketing fraud. If convicted, the ringleaders could face more than 37 years in prison.
Remind your loved ones to sign up for Blue Alert
Ohio peace officers’ friends and families now can do more than hope and pray their loved ones stay safe on the job. They can sign up to have Blue Alert information sent directly to their cell phone, e-mail account, or fax machine.
I backed the Ohio Blue Alert system, which went into effect in June. Similar to an AMBER Alert, a Blue Alert rapidly broadcasts information advising the public of an at-large suspect who has killed, seriously injured, or kidnapped an Ohio peace officer.
Ohioans can sign up at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/BlueAlert or through social media at www.facebook.com/OhioBlueAlert or twitter.com/ohiobluealert.
Community Fraud Forums help consumers fight fraud
The Attorney General’s Office and several partners hosted Community Fraud Forums in Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, and Toledo this summer to raise awareness of strategies to prevent fraud and target those responsible. Each of the forums drew about 75 law enforcement officers, prosecutors, social workers, nonprofit representatives, and business owners.
The events highlighted the work of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section and its Economic Crimes Unit, the Health Care Fraud and Charitable Law sections, and the services of partner organizations. Breakout sessions focused on collaborative investigations, financial exploitation of the elderly, fraud affecting charities and care facilities, and scams that target small businesses.