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In response to the Omnibus Crime Control Act of 1968, the Ohio Law Enforcement Planning Agency was created as the forerunner of today's Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services.
The agency began operation under the Ohio Department of Economic and Community Development. Its dual purpose was to administer program funds to Ohio's criminal justice constituents and to coordinate Ohio's comprehensive criminal justice plan. During the 1970s, the agency underwent various name changes, but its responsibilities remained unchanged.
In the early 1980s, efforts to enhance the scope of the agency resulted in legislation that formally established the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services within the Ohio Department of Development. Enacted in July 1983, this legislation also expanded the responsibilities of the agency to include policy issues.
In 1993, in order to maintain the impartial nature of its work, the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services became a separate, independent agency. In 2000, the office became a cabinet-level agency. In July 2005, OCJS became a part of the Ohio Department of Public Safety.
1. The Office of Criminal Justice Services is, by constitution and statute, separate from enforcement, courts and corrections, providing a neutral criminal justice branch within state government.
2. OCJS is an unaligned justice arena for collaboration among law enforcement, corrections, courts, service providers and other related disciplines.
3. OCJS mirrors Ohio’s Home Rule philosophy by tailoring responses and services to constituencies and their specific needs.
4. OCJS is a single criminal justice funding portal that minimizes red tape throughout the grant process. When administering funding, it is the goal of the agency that subgrantees and communities view OCJS as even-handed and working with their best interests in mind.
5. OCJS safeguards federal and state criminal justice funds against waste or misappropriation to maximize the resources available in Ohio’s fight against crime. Grants are monitored for compliance, audited for accuracy, and evaluated for effectiveness.
6. OCJS houses its own team of researchers who design research studies for practicality and usefulness, providing policy makers and practitioners with the latest and best practices for today’s economic and community climate.
7. OCJS pilots projects that shape criminal justice in Ohio and nationwide. As a highly populated Midwestern state, Ohio takes the lead on successful justice strategies that are later adopted in other areas of the country.
8. Throughout the years, the professional staff at OCJS has understood the intrinsic value of information technology on crime and terrorism. That is why the agency has invested in and currently maintains one of the state’s most significant justice technology links — the Ohio Incident-Based Reporting System (OIBRS).
9. OCJS is a small agency, and with its concentrated staff, an idea or issue can be rapidly translated into a training opportunity, publication or conference for those who need it most.
10. OCJS streamlines grants, develops resources, shares information, and evaluates the effectiveness of initiatives. Ultimately, OCJS remains responsible for triaging criminal justice priorities spanning law enforcement, corrections, courts and criminal justice services.
Ohio Revised Code establishes the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services as the lead criminal justice planning agency for the state. Through its research, technology, grants administration and programmatic initiatives, OCJS serves agencies and communities committed to reducing and preventing crime across Ohio.
Service is at the core of OCJS’ vision, with collaboration the key that allows the agency to remain ahead of criminal justice issues. The outcome of this service and collaboration is the outstanding assistance OCJS provides in a broad range of areas such as funding, technology, research and training, and publications. OCJS customers include the governor’s administration, legislature, law enforcement and criminal justice agencies, universities, victim groups and citizens.
OCJS is led by an executive director who is appointed by the director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety with the concurrence of the governor. The director informs the governor’s administration of criminal justice concerns and trends. The office is organized into four substantive areas: Grants Administration; Policy and Research; Justice Technology; and the Family Violence Prevention Center. The essential services provided in these areas through OCJS include:
OCJS is called on by the director of ODPS, the governor’s administration, and many different constituents to address a wide range of criminal justice issues. It is the combination of seasoned criminal justice professionals and individuals just entering the workforce that provides OCJS with the balance of experience and creativity to progressively work toward solutions.
OCJS was established by statute to ensure a balanced compliance with regulations related to federal grant funding in Ohio. Once established, the impartial position the agency was required to maintain was a natural fit for broad-based, objective criminal justice planning.
An OCJS staff of close to 30 effectively administers millions of justice grant dollars, researches trends and manages some of Ohio’s most progressive justice technology systems. How much does this cost Ohioans? With its administrative general revenue fund at just over $1 million, OCJS is one of the soundest returns on investment in Ohio state government today.