Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $2,879,533)
The Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) will use funds to improve reporting of dispositions and reporting to NICS of persons who are prohibited from possessing firearms for reasons related to mental health. Only 54% of arrests entered into Ohio’s criminal records system have a final disposition on file. The large volume of paper criminal records submitted to BCI renders those records inaccessible in state and federal background checks. With previous NCHIP funding, BCI hired eight full-time employees tasked exclusively with converting paper records into digital records. Funding for positions, though, will expire in September 2024. Budget constraints amongst local agencies have also made it difficult to fund staff charged with updating missing records. BCI currently operates the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway (OHLEG) that allows law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, courts, and clerks of court to share and view relevant criminal justice information. However, OHLEG has limited connectivity to the OBIS system that contains Ohio’s criminal records repository. Additionally, when BCI recently replaced its biometric identification system, it was determined that the system must be able to store, index, and search images submitted in connection with each arrest. However, without additional capacity to the system, Ohio will have limited ability to ingest, store, and search newly acquired images going forward. BCI is requesting funding to enhance the connectivity between the OHLEG and OBIS systems to allow each agency to view and update arrest cycles associated with their jurisdiction that lack a disposition; to provide subgrant awards to local agencies for disposition recovery; for server space to store additional dispositions; to continue the conversion of sealed paper criminal files and fingerprint cards into electronic format; and to increase storage capacity of OBIS.