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The Ohio Attorney General’s Office is proving there’s room for good ideas in law enforcement, and we tip our cap to Attorney General Mike DeWine for leading the charge.
On Thursday, DeWine unveiled the Ohio Unsolved Homicides Initiative in Celina, where sheriff’s deputies continue to investigate the gruesome deaths of Robert and Colleen Grube. The new website helps law enforcement officials both inside and outside Ohio connect the dots on unsolved cases.
DeWine said the Grube case personally haunts him, and he called Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey in the first weekend of that investigation to make sure the state organization provided any help it could.
Over time, the office realized the value of an idea by Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation Special Agent Robert Davis. Davis received a call about an out-of-state homicide in the autumn of 2010, with officials saying they had information on unsolved homicides in Ohio. Without a central database, there was no way to know if those tips might solve some crimes from years ago.
It’s not the first innovation from the office. The office now offers mediation for news organizations and governmental bodies fighting over open records and open meetings, instead of fighting through litigation that proves costly for both sides. It’s also taken a place on the front lines of human trafficking, reconvening the Human Trafficking Commission to breaking through these difficult cases that often involve the sex trade.
The office even received a high honor from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government recently. The school selected the Ohio Program Integrity Group as one of its 2012 “Bright Ideas.” The group created a computer algorithm to look through claims data on Medicaid providers, looking for possible fraud before humans detect it and report it. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services selected Ohio’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit as the top unit of its kind nationally last year.
All of this comes in part due to the leadership of DeWine, who returned to his roots as a county prosecutor. When DeWine ran for attorney general two years ago, it was easy to dismiss it as a return to statewide politics for the former lieutenant governor, congressman and U.S. senator, who lost his seat to now-U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown back in 2006.
Instead, he’s shown his leadership can help the state’s top crime-investigating organization work hand-in-hand with local law enforcement do its job better and more efficiently.
He brought stability back to the attorney general’s office, which had three different leaders from 2007 to 2011, including the embarrassing tenure of former Attorney General Mark Dann. You may recall the sexual harassment scandal in the office sworn to protect the rights of Ohio’s residents, including Dann himself engaging in extramarital activities with a subordinate.
Now, under DeWine’s leadership, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office is back to generating good ideas to catch the bad guys.
We applaud all these efforts, as they’ve been accomplished without any major expansion of government resources. Instead, they’re just good ideas, executed at the right time to accomplish the office’s goals. We’ll gladly cheer for law enforcement officials doing their jobs more wisely and efficiently.