November 22, 2014

Freezing rain

Lorain County Commissioners to try Crime Lab levy again

ELYRIA — For the second time this year, Lorain County voters will have a chance to vote on a levy that would support the operation of the county’s Crime Lab.

But voters won’t see a return to the ballot by a levy that would have done the same for Lorain County Transit.

Voters shot down levies for both the Crime Lab and transit in May.

In a 2-1 vote Wednesday, the county commissioners agreed to try again for the lab levy, saying it is necessary for the county’s law enforcement.

“If we have to focus on one, I would say the Crime Lab is needed by law enforcement,” Commissioner Lori Kokoski said. “Doing them at two different times might be better, rather than trying to do two at the same time.”

The proposed 0.08-mill Crime Lab levy would generate $495,798 annually and the owner of a home valued at $100,000 would pay $2.80 per year.

Commissioner Ted Kalo said that given the continued drug problem in the county, especially the heroin epidemic that has led to a steep rise in overdoses and deaths, the Crime Lab is vital. He said a large sweep of drug dealers this week by the Lorain County Drug Task Force and other police departments in the county proves that.

But Commissioner Tom Williams said he remains unconvinced that the levy is a good idea. He said he would like to see the county close down its lab, which is partially funded by an aging joint levy with the Drug Task Force, and begin using the state lab run by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Williams also said he has concerns about asking voters to fund the Crime Lab while there is still an active investigation into the county’s Adult Probation Department. That probe was launched earlier this year after it became public that items were missing from the department’s evidence room.

The investigation had initially focused on Emmanuel de Leon, the Crime Lab’s director and former chief deputy probation officer as well as the director of the county’s now-shuttered Forensics Laboratory.

But Chief Deputy Dennis Cavanaugh said the investigation has already cleared de Leon and the Crime Lab of wrongdoing. He said the sole focus of the investigation is now on the Probation Department, and the two entities aren’t connected.

Cavanaugh said that if the county has to send drugs to BCI for analysis, it will take longer to get results than if tests are done locally. He said speed is sometimes critical in drug investigations.

Cavanaugh also said sending police officers to deliver evidence to BCI labs would take them off the streets for hours at a time. Williams countered that the county could save taxpayers money by hiring a deputy who could make the deliveries to BCI.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or Follow him on Twitter @BradDickenCT.

  • Mark B

    The people said NO , Stop asking the answer is STILL NO !

  • GreatRedeemer

    The same probation department that the feud about new digs with the Judge is/was all the rage ? Outsource it to BCI. Vote no

  • oldruss

    It’s always just a small levy, a dollar here and a dollar there.


    This makes the third county wide levy slated for the November ballot, if memory serves, not counting school levies, library levies, city and township levies, etc.
    When do these Commissioners (Kalo and Kokowski) get the message? Taxpayers are all tapped out!

  • SniperFire

    How much will this add to the cost of renting? Tough to pay $700 a month on the part-time burrito-stuffing jobs available to the young adults in Elyria in this Brinda Economy.

    Do the young adults who vote ever bother to think that the reason they have to live with their parents is because all of these tax levies get paid by their rent check, too?

    • Mark B

      Voting for a tax levy is voting yourself a pay cut . When do you think the last time anyone in the government City , county or state has taken a pay cut ? Smarten up people , stop decreasing your earnings , it is your choice .

  • jz

    Hire a deputy to make deliveries to BCI. Man is that dumb or what? Do you have any clue what you are talking about?

  • Scout

    Yes renters rent goes up and so does the mortage of a homeower…how much more????My house is already assessed at the same price as it was when I purchase it many years ago. It is suppose to go up but with levies it can’t and how can a homeowner break even let alone make a profit?

  • stillsleepyeyes

    don’t forget the emergency contract they just got for phones and computers to alert the citizens in case of bad weather,,,,,,,,,,all that money wasted when the public gets the same app free……………..