SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – Sixteen law enforcement agencies across Ohio will receive funding to prevent and solve violent crimes, including several in the Miami Valley.
This is the sixth round of Ohio Violent Crime Reduction Grant Program grants awarded by the state, which will award a total of $58 million overall to agencies across Ohio.
The Clark County Sheriff’s Office was awarded $639,691 to address staffing and improve technology.
“Nationwide, law enforcement agencies are facing an unprecedented crisis,” Clark County Sheriff’s Office Grants and Programs Manager Wendy Holt said.
Holt said staffing for the Clark County Sheriff’s Office this is becoming worrisome because without enough deputies on staff, departments will have to cut back on programs and services.
“We are seeing a drop in people that are even interested in becoming law enforcement, and we have to do what we can to keep the people that we have,” Holt said.
To address staffing, part of the sheriff office’s grant will go toward a 3.5% bonus this year and next year as an incentive to keep people in the agency.
The rest of the money will improve the agency’s access to NIBIN, a database that tracks firearms used in crimes, so they no longer have to lean on the Springfield Police Department.
“Many of the violent crimes that we run into have a connection here somehow in our community,” Clark County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division Commander Lt. Christopher Shultz said. “So with this technology, we’re able to more timely process through these criminal offenses and in so doing, have a more rapid response to take these people into custody, and process them through the criminal justice system and make our communities safer.”
The Mercer County Sheriff’s Office will receive more than $110,640.70 to purchase technology that can pull evidence from cell phones and other electronic devices.
The Bellefontaine Police Department in Logan County is getting nearly $78,780.20 for eight new dash cams.
“We might be one minute recording a potential drunk driver, the next minute we might be out handling a car crash, and all of that becomes necessary video later, so for us, we were really really fortunate to get the grant,” Bellefontaine Police Department Chief Brandon Standley said.
The Springfield and Clark County community has seen an uptick in violent gun crimes according the the Springfield Unit of the NAACP. They’re partnering with law enforcement to prevent it from happening.
“We are seeing a lot of shootings, we are killing each other, we’re seeing a lot of guns on the street,” Springfield Unit NAACP President Denise Williams said.
Williams said her organization is working to stop the violence happening in her community. She said partnerships with law enforcement agencies have been essential in finding a solution to the problem.
“It’s important to build relationships with with police department and sheriff’s department, and I want our officers to be more present in the community,” Williams said.
The NAACP Springfield Unit is working with the community and local law enforcement to host a youth summit this fall to address increasing gun crime and build stronger relationships with police.