Gov. DeWine hands out third round of crime reduction grants

By: - June 7, 2022 3:45 am

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

In Springfield Monday, Governor Mike DeWine announced the third round of funding in Ohio’s Violent Crime Reduction Grant program. The latest tranche amounts to $3.9 million of an eventual $58 million in grants. The lion’s share of the funding comes from the American Rescue Plan, passed by Congress early in the Biden administration.

The Springfield police chief Lee Graf explained they’ll use the $305,000 grant to purchase camera systems.

“Anyone who owns a doorbell camera, anyone who has a surveillance system outside of their home or inside as well as their businesses, knows the value of those devices,” Graf said.

As an example, he showed a video that captured a recent shooting. A handful of figures ran through a high contrast, night vision street scene. Muzzle flares glowed bright white as gun shots popped like a string of firecrackers.

Graf acknowledged catching the incident itself isn’t the norm, but he argued the video still provides potentially useful evidence for investigators.

“It can show us who’s leaving the area. It can lock in a time that can be critical to investigators. It can capture invaluable audio, et cetera, on and on,” he said.

The cameras will have multiple capabilities, including license plate readers, and Graf said they’ll be mobile enough to be redeployed to so-called hotspots.

Critics like the ACLU have criticized the use of surveillance technologies like cameras on the grounds that they’re an unnecessary invasion of privacy, and more important, they argue — it’s not clear they’re effective.

The third round of grants include funding for another 15 law enforcement agencies around the state. The two largest were $1.7 million for Cleveland to pay for a ballistics system and gang deterrence efforts, and $600,000 to cover dispatch equipment for the Whitehall police department. The remaining grants will fund retention bonuses at a baker’s dozen of other agencies.

DeWine bragged that this approach gives authority to local leaders.

“This money is targeted primarily at violent crime,” DeWine said. “And it relies on our basic philosophy that local law enforcement, local chiefs, local sheriffs, local mayors should be making the decisions for their community about specifically how this money gets spent.”

DeWine described the spending as “close to $200 million” to fight violent crime. The governor was vague, but seemed to be lumping the violent crime reduction grants in with money recently appropriated in hopes of preventing schools shootings. That $117 million passed alongside legislation allowing districts to arm teachers and would fund security upgrades at schools.



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Nick Evans
Nick Evans

Nick Evans has spent the past seven years reporting for NPR member stations in Florida and Ohio. He got his start in Tallahassee, covering issues like redistricting, same sex marriage and medical marijuana. Since arriving in Columbus in 2018, he has covered everything from city council to football. His work on Ohio politics and local policing have been featured numerous times on NPR.