Ohio Attorney General's Office creates arsonist registry

By Marc Kovac | R-C Capital Bureau Published:

COLUMBUS -- A new state registry is ready to accept required registrations from convicted arsonists.

Attorney General Mike DeWine announced the availability of the system Monday, bringing to fruition legislation signed into law by Gov. John Kasich earlier this year to better track men and women who have purposefully burned down homes and other structures.

"We hope this new registry will serve as a valuable investigative tool for law enforcement and fire officials," DeWine said in a news release. "Now, investigators will be able to look at an arson scene and quickly determine if any convicted arsonists live nearby."

Individuals convicted of arson-related crimes over the preceding decade have to register their places of residence annually with county sheriffs offices.

Offenders have to pay an initial registration fee of $50, then $25 annually thereafter.

The new registry is only for law enforcement and fire investigators -- it's not open for public perusal.

The online system is being managed by Louisiana-based Watch Systems, which also oversees the state's sex offender database. The state Controlling Board OK'd the contract with the company in April.

Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at mkovac@dixcom.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.

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