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Ohio hosts virtual law enforcement conference

Ohio Attorney General David Yost announced a new cold case unit will be added to the Bureau of Criminal Investigations to help solve decades old homicides.
Ohio Attorney General David Yost announced a new cold case unit will be added to the Bureau of Criminal Investigations to help solve decades old homicides.(WTVG)
Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 6:20 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSAZ) - Ohio Attorney General David Yost announced a new cold case unit will be added to the Bureau of Criminal Investigations to help solve decades old homicides.

There are more than 2,100 cold cases in the state, and cases are added each year. Officials cite a variety of factors, like organizational constraints including time and money. There’s other things that may be case specific, such as the original investigators may have retired, resigned, or relocated.

In a virtual law enforcement conference held Monday, Special Agent Supervisor Roger Davis discussed some of the issues facing agencies investigating old cases.

“Thirty to 40 years of evidence being relocated,” Davis said. “There’s fires within property rooms, there’s floods within property rooms. Sometimes those original evidentiary items are no longer with the case file.”

He discussed new tools and technology available to law enforcement looking to solve cold cases, like DNA technology, cyber forensics, and criminal intelligence.

Retired Chief Deputy Sheriff Paul Butler shared stories from his career. He explained the difficult climate surrounding law enforcement and various departments across the country are facing. As a former crisis negotiator, he said his favorite experiences were being able to help someone in a time of need and being able to talk to them in a way to calm them down in a critical moment.

“We need you to be effective right now,” Butler said. “We need better attitudes these days. Right now the temptation is to get demoralized. Everyone is piling on. We’re missing the opportunities.”

In a session titled “Building Mutual Respect & Community Trust,” attendees were shown body cam and dash cam footage of intense moments officers faced out in the field.

In one video, a woman is seen pushing against and attempting to spit on an officer, while yelling curse words. After the video ends, as part of the conference, a retired police lieutenant analyzes the officers behavior and how he remained calm and composed during the encounter.

During a second video, an officer pulls up to a traffic incident, where an individual says he slid on some ice and crashed his vehicle into a pole. The exchange becomes heated as both the officer and driver begin yelling at each other in frustration.

Lt. Mike Hutson, says the situation could’ve been handled differently. He explains that the officer came onto the scene agitated and didn’t even ask the driver if they were OK. He encourages others in uniform to start with a place of human compassion.

The presentation also included time to honor officers who received awards for their service and a moment to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the line of duty.

“They didn’t become heroes the day they drew their last breath, and their watch ended,” said David Yost. “They became heroes the day they pinned that badge on their chest and with it got an imaginary target on their back.”

If you’d like to learn more about Ohio’s Cold Cases, click or tap here.

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