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Ohio Enacts Law to Create LE Database of Mentally Ill Subjects

January 02, 2014  | 

The law is named for Clark County Sheriff's Dep. Suzane Hopper who was murdered by a criminally insane subject in 2011. (Photo: Clark County Sheriff's Office)
The law is named for Clark County Sheriff's Dep. Suzane Hopper who was murdered by a criminally insane subject in 2011. (Photo: Clark County Sheriff's Office)

Three years after Clark County (Ohio) Deputy Sheriff Suzanne Hopper was ambushed and killed by a deranged man, a new rule went into effect Wednesday requiring courts to notify police about violent offenders with a mental illness, the Columbus Dispatch.

The Ohio Supreme Court has devised a new document — Form 95 — that judges must fill out and submit to police for entry into a national crime database when a court orders a person convicted of a violent offense to be evaluated or treated for mental illness, or when a court approves a conditional release of a person found not guilty by reason of insanity or found incompetent to stand trial.

The database, accessible only by law-enforcement agencies, is intended to inform police officers about suspects who have a history of violence and mental illness. It is not retroactive and will include only the names of those entered beginning today.

“Having that information is power,” Clark County Sheriff Gene Kelly said. “It allows us to more properly diagnose a situation.”

Reached yesterday, Kelly said he was thinking about Hopper, the mother of two, and that “ ungodly, hellacious” New Year’s Day in 2011 when she was shot by Michael Ferryman, 57, a resident at the Enon Beach Mobile Home Park near the village of Enon in Clark County.

Hopper, 40, was photographing evidence after being called to the campground to investigate a report of shots being fired. She did not know that Ferryman had fired the shots and was aiming his gun at her from inside his trailer 5 feet away. And she did not know that he had attacked deputies previously in Morgan County and was declared criminally insane in 2002.

Tags: Officer Down, Mentally Ill Subjects, Clark County (Ohio) Sheriff

Comments (3)

Displaying 1 - 3 of 3

Mike Tyloch @ 1/2/2014 7:10 PM

We all need to enact a law like this. Wisconsin has more then it's fair share of "mentaly ill" people who are out of instutions because of a conditional release, or MR. date If Law enforcment had a database like this one, we wloud know what we are walking into. At times if we know a person is sick, we can approach him or her with knowing. This should be retroactive. How meany lives can be saved just by having this tool.

Richard Hightower @ 1/6/2014 2:04 PM

I understand an appreicate the potential usefullness of such a system. But, given the tendency for Federal government systems to be aboused, I have grave reservations about it. Let us not forget the slippery slope this potentially could develop into. After all the "No Fly" list sounded like a good idea when it originated. But now it is a clumbersom, ineffective, and Basic Rights-depriving device to which EVERY citizen of the US can be potentially be victimized.

Ima Leprechaun @ 1/12/2014 1:38 PM

If the law pertains only to the convicted criminally insane then there is sufficient vetting going into the labeling of suspect. But attaching this label to anyone who ever sought help or was forced by their agency to seek counseling for any mental related issues such as depression, marital counseling or PTSD would also include many Police Officers, Judges, Lawyer's, Fire Fighters, Military and other honest law abiding citizens. The abuse of these kinds of laws worries me and if mental health laws are passed it would prevent anyone from seeking help to avoid being labeled for life. I wonder why any County Agency would send a one deputy car to a shooting in progress call and allow that deputy to enter the area without back-up, that I find very troubling. Her Agency bears a considerable amount of blame for her death as well.

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