Ohio Program Links Educators With Criminal Justice Agencies

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An Ohio University adminstrator says she is looking into joining a consortium of universities and criminal justice agencies. 

Fourteen universities in Ohio have joined the Ohio Consortium of Crime Science, which brings social science researchers and local criminal justice agencies together to solve real-world problems.

The federally-funded program, created by the Ohio Department of Public Safety's Office of Criminal Justice Services, is the first of its kind in the country and is modeled after the agriculture extension service.

The Consortium aims to promote evidence-based approaches to help solve local and state crime related problems by linking educators around the state with local criminal justice agencies.

Karhlton Moore, the executive director of the program, said one of the biggest reasons for starting the Consortium was the belief that every community across the state is entitled to the best criminal justice his office could offer.

"What we did not want was to have a group of haves and have nots, where the haves get evidence-based practices, and if you happen to live in an area that is maybe more rural and less affluent, then you don't get those things."

The 14 participating universities throughout the state include the Ohio State University; Kent State University; Youngstown State; the University of Cincinnati; Bowling Green; Akron University; Findlay University; Cedarville University; Franklin University; Cleveland State, the University of Toledo and Miami University.

Ohio University is notably missing from this list, but Ohio University Director of Degree Programs Tanya Barnett believes it is a goal for the Criminal Justice program in Athens.

"This definitely, now that I'm aware of it, will be someone that we reach out to in the very near future," she said. "I see many opportunities for a partnership."

Neither Barnett nor Captain Ralph Harvey Jr. of the Athens Police Department had heard about the program prior to interview request from WOUB regarding the matter.

Harvey also agreed that he would consider working with Ohio University if researchers joined the consortium.

In order for a criminal justice program to receive the aid of a researcher, they must fill out an online form request on the Ohio Consortium of Crime Science website.

The advisory board decides whether a project is undertakable before assigning a researcher based off of expertise and geographic location.

There are currently no universities in the southeastern region of Ohio that have reached out to join the Consortium, but since its inception, the board has accepted new members throughout the state.

There are now a total of more than 40 researchers from 14 universities. The Consortium has had requests from 8 communities thus far, having completed two projects, three projects in progress, two future projects planned, and one project denial.