Muskingum County Prosecutor
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 23, 2023
Prosecutor’s Office secures grant for crime prevention programming, technology
Last year the Muskingum County Prosecutor Ron Welch submitted a grant proposal to the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services for purposes of addressing violent crime and some of its causes. As a result of this proposal, the Prosecutor’s office, working together with the Zanesville Police Department and the Muskingum County Sheriff’s Office, secured nearly $350,000 for two distinct programs aimed at reducing violent crime.
The first program involved the continued development of a pre-arrest diversion program (DART) for low level drug possession cases. This program involves a dedicated diversion coordinator employed by the prosecutor’s office to screen and supervise individuals who meet the criteria of the program. The diversion coordinator develops a program for each participant to follow, as well as assists participants in connecting with other services that may be needed, including housing, mental health counselling, job training and employment. The Muskingum County Prosecutor’s Office finds through experience that there is a correlation between the amount of drug use and the amount of violence in a particular area. Thus, if this program can reduce the number of drug addicted persons, it will reduce the number of violent offenses related to the drug world due to the inherently violent nature of drug dealing.
The second program aimed at reducing violent crime is providing local law enforcement, primarily the City of Zanesville, with enhanced technology to help deter, detect, and investigate violent crime.
This technology includes the use of gunshot detection technology, as well as advanced license plate readers (ALPRs). The gun shot detection technology relies upon the placement of numerous sensors designed to identify gun shots. These sensors then relay information immediately to law enforcement. Officers are able to respond to the area of the alert as soon as the detection notification is made. This is important for several reasons: the technology decreases response time allowing officers to immediately address an active shooting situation to protect the public, officers receive more reliable information about where the shot or shots were fired and the quicker the response time, the more likely a suspect is to be apprehended before fleeing the area.
Working in conjunction with the gunshot detection technology are the ALPRs. Eleven ALPRs will be spread across the city and county. These devices obtain vehicle information from vehicles passing in the device’s line of sight. This data can only be assessed by law enforcement and is only held for 30 days unless there is information necessary for an investigation.
The location of the various devices was determined by violent crime statistics maintained by local law enforcement. The goal of implementing this technology is to provide increased security to the areas that need it the most.
“Everyone that cares about this community would like to see violence decrease and violent offenders off the streets. Incorporating this technology enhances the ability of law enforcement and the Prosecutor’s Office to make our community safer,” Prosecutor Ron Welch said.
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