By Frank Lewis
David Pepper, Democratic nominee for Ohio Attorney General, on Wednesday announced what he said was his plan to restore the Attorney General’s Office as an effective partner with local law enforcement.
Pepper said over the past four years, Attorney General Mike DeWine has failed to be an advocate for local law enforcement, and has often undermined those fighting crime on the front lines.
“Local officers and deputy sheriffs serve as our communities’ first line of defense against crime, but they have been undermined again and again since 2010,” Pepper said. “As Attorney General, I will rebuild the state partnership with local law enforcement—respecting home rule, advocating for funding support, and providing critical support services for their work.”
Pepper said he will put an end to what he called the Attorney General’s efforts to compete with and shut down trusted local crime labs. He said instead, he will work in cooperation with those labs to create a network of services that can process evidence faster and at a lower cost to taxpayers. As an example, he said his partnership plan will greatly accelerate the testing of old rape kits—ending the nearly 4,000-kit backlog quickly while saving taxpayer dollars.
Pepper said he will also create and regularly meet with a standing panel of local law enforcement officers to permanently stay abreast of the issues on the front lines; improve data sharing and crime analysis technology so that crime trends, such as the heroin crisis, may be more easily tracked in real-time, and resources moved accordingly; work to protect local government funding and the collective bargaining rights of first responders and improve law enforcement training by ensuring programs are relevant to the challenges being faced by officers on the street
“I spent years fighting for safe streets as a Cincinnati City Councilman and Hamilton County Commissioner, so I know that public safety all starts at the local level,” Pepper said. “I will restart that partnership to make our communities safer.”
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.