Convicted arsonists must register in Ohio

OHIO IS now the third state to implement an arsonist registry list.

The registry was voted on and approved in December by the state’s General Assembly. It was activated on July 1.

Martins Ferry Fire Chief Jack Regis believes that this new registry will be positive and helpful.

“An arsonist is never someone you would suspect of that type of crime. We should be aware of (an arsonist) in our community,” said Regis.

Regis feels that the new arson registry will help stop arson incidents in communities because all of the information that will be obtainable and something can be done to stop it. Right now, Regis said that there are few options on the table on how they are going to notify the fire departments that there is an arsonist in the area.

Any Ohio resident who has been convicted of arson, aggravated arson or an arson – related offense must register each year. The first time registering will cost $50 and each year after that will cost $25.

The money will go towards upkeep of the system. The system will cost $50,000. It will be maintained by the attorney general.

The offender will have to register every year for life. They must register their address, finger and palm prints and any other information available with the law enforcement agency.

This information will not be made public; it will only be available to law enforcement officials and fire investigation agencies.

While the law would not apply to people who have already served their sentences for arson, aggravated arson or related crimes, it requires those convicted going forward or those currently serving an arson sentence to register with the sheriff of the county in which they live after they are released.

They must submit their name, address, place of work or school, license plate number or numbers and palm and fingerprints, among other information.

The law also applies to people living in Ohio convicted of arson offenses in other states. A person has 10 days from when they are released from incarceration or move into the state to register; failure to do so is a fifth-degree felony.

“This arson registry is another tool in the tool box to help with investigations, it will be a positive thing to help investigators,” said State Fire Marshal Larry Flowers.

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