During a visit to the Whitehall Police Department this week, Governor Mike DeWine (R) indicated he will expand funding for the Ohio Violent Crime Reduction Grant Program from $58 million to $100 million, citing a nationwide spike in violence.
According to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 2011 and 2020 Uniform Crime Reports, homicides in the Buckeye State rose sharply in the decade between those years. Five hundred murders occurred in Ohio in 2011 and 820 took place in 2020. Regional figures also show violence worsening, with one poll of Franklin County police chiefs showing that aggravated assault increased by 36 percent in that jurisdiction between 2020 and 2021.
“Violent crime is spiking nationwide, and here in Ohio, I want to ensure that our local law enforcement agencies have as much support as possible,” DeWine said in a statement. “From new equipment to more staff, we’re giving our agencies the flexibility to use these grants in ways that make the biggest impact on the safety of their communities.”
New funds or the state’s crime-reduction effort will come from the federal American Rescue Plan Act that was enacted last year. So far, the state has bestowed $28.7 million in grants to 99 law enforcement agencies across the state. DeWine anticipates awarding a new round of grants within the week.
The state has issued grants for personnel hires as well as technology purchases to improve anti-drug and anti-human-trafficking efforts, juvenile-justice programs and other priorities. Police officers serving over 20 local departments in Ohio will partake in roughly $10 million potential retention bonuses to ensure that staffing is sufficiently robust.
Whitehall Police Department itself is gaining $630,000 in program funds to improve dispatch center equipment to help the Columbus suburb maintain quality emergency services.
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