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Criminal Justice Update

Projects to enhance OHLEG’s usability, security

Attorney General Mike DeWine is implementing several recommendations to enhance the security and usability of the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway (OHLEG), already considered one of best statewide law enforcement information systems in the nation.

Projects now under way within the Attorney General’s Office will:
  • Tailor users’ access to information they need to meet their job responsibilities
  • Restrict the system’s facial recognition technology to law enforcement’s use unless special approval is granted
  • Implement mandatory, standardized training for law enforcement and non-law enforcement audiences
  • Institute random audits to ensure compliance with Ohio law and OHLEG policies that limit use of the system to criminal justice purposes
These were among the recommendations of an OHLEG Advisory Group, which Attorney General DeWine formed in September to review OHLEG practices and protocols. Chaired by former Ohio Supreme Court Justices Yvette McGee Brown and Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, the nine-member committee met with a broad range of OHLEG users and administrators as well as a legal scholar before suggesting 18 steps to enhance the system.
An Internet-based tool, OHLEG was launched in 2003 to provide law enforcement and other criminal justice professionals with what now includes dozens of databases and other applications to help solve and prevent crime. The system’s more than 27,000 users — law enforcement, probation and parole officers, court personnel, and other criminal justice agencies — conducted nearly 4 million searches via OHLEG in 2013.
“OHLEG is a very valuable tool, more powerful and diverse than any other statewide law enforcement information data system that we know of,” Attorney General DeWine said. “With the advisory group’s very sound recommendations, we can protect the integrity and strengthen the value of this important resource. I am also pleased that the group reviewed and endorsed several improvement projects already under way by our staff members at the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) who oversee OHLEG.”
Here are some of the steps being taken to enhance OHLEG:
  • An OHLEG Steering Committee has been named to review policies and protocols as the system evolves. The committee, which held its first meeting in January, will oversee implementation of the advisory group’s recommendations; monitor and update OHLEG and facial recognition technology policies; and review security risk assessments.
  • A standing OHLEG Advisory Committee representing agencies with an interest in OHLEG has been formed to serve as a sounding board for the steering committee and Attorney General as new policies are developed. Ohio Revised Code Section 109.57(C)(4) authorizes a steering committee of OHLEG users, while this committee is broader to ensure OHLEG continues to operate in a publicly acceptable manner.
  • Access to OHLEG tools will be tailored to users’ job duties and determined by their agencies’ CEOs. Non-law enforcement users will not have access to facial recognition technology without the BCI superintendent’s approval.
  • A process is being developed to allow agency CEOs to immediately remove users’ access when they no longer qualify to use the system and to quickly report that development OHLEG.
  • Input on access to juvenile records via OHLEG has been sought from the Ohio Association of Juvenile Court Judges and the Ohio Attorney General’s Task Force on Criminal Justice and Mental Illness.
  • OHLEG security policies are being updated to address access by researchers and out-of-state law enforcement.
  • The OHLEG staff is developing a mandatory, standardized training program geared to law enforcement and non-law enforcement users to ensure they can make best use of OHLEG’s resources and understand the consequences for misuse. Training modules will require OHLEG users to acknowledge completion of training updates, which will be available online for future reference.
  • A training platform will be established to allow users to practice searches without accessing official records.
  • To ensure OHLEG is used only for its intended criminal justice purposes and in compliance with Ohio law and OHLEG policies, Attorney General’s Office staff will perform regular random audits. Previous audits have been based on reports of possible misuse.
  • Agency CEOs will be charged with monitoring their employees’ use of OHLEG, levels of access, training, and account termination.
  • A model use policy that includes guidelines for reporting and prosecuting infractions will be developed to guide local agencies.
Additional resources
  • To read the OHLEG Advisory Group’s report, visit and click on the Links tab.
  • To request OHLEG training or technical assistance, email or call 866-406-4534.
  • For more information on state law regarding OHLEG, consult Ohio Revised Code Section 2913.04. The use of OHLEG for anything other than law enforcement purposes is a fifth-degree felony.
OHLEG Advisory Group
•  Former Ohio Supreme Court Justices Evelyn Lundberg Stratton and Yvette McGee Brown, co-chairs
•  Shelby County Common Pleas Court Judge James Stevenson
•  Pickaway County Juvenile Court Judge Jan Long
•  Union County Prosecutor David Phillips
•  Lorain County Sheriff Phil Stammitti
•  Administrative Counsel to the Ohio Public Defender Dan Jones
•  Grove City Police Chief Steve Robinette
•  Montgomery County Coroner Dr. Kent Harshbarger
OHLEG Steering Committee
•  Lorain County Sheriff Phil Stammitti
•  Meigs County Prosecutor Colleen Williams
•  Bowling Green State University Police Chief Monica Moll
•  Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Deputy Director Sara Andrews
•  Ohio State Highway Patrol Captain Rob Jackson
•  Grove City Chief of Police Steve Robinette
•  Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Parker
•  BCI Superintendent Tom Stickrath
•  First Assistant Attorney General Mary Mertz
OHLEG Advisory Committee
•  Lorain County Sheriff Phil Stammitti
•  Meigs County Prosecutor Colleen Williams
•  Bowling Green State University Police Chief Monica Moll
•  Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Deputy Director Sara Andrews
•  Ohio State Highway Patrol Captain Rob Jackson
•  Capital University Law Professor Dennis Hirsch
•  Franklin County Public Defender’s Office Director Yeura Venters
•  Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor Linda Scott
•  Sharkey & Dirck Communications Principal Mary Anne Sharkey
•  Grove City Chief of Police Steve Robinette
•  Ohio State Law Professor and ACLU of Ohio Board Member Terri L. Enns
•  Former Columbus Mayor and Buckeye Institute Board Member Greg Lashutka 
•  Senior Vice President of Operations and Integration for Limited Brands Laura Warren