On Dec. 12, Attorney General Jim Petro's Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway Search Engine (OHLEG-SE) became available to law-enforcement agencies throughout Ohio.

"I believe this system is a necessity for all law-enforcement officers in the state," said Petro. "This search engine allows investigators to tap into multiple databases by entering whatever clues they may have, such as a partial license-plate number, to quickly identify suspects."

Petro created the OHLEG-SE to provide Ohio's law-enforcement agencies an Internet-based tool capable of securely combing through numerous, disparate data sources from a single query. OHLEG-SE searches Computerized Criminal History (CCH) files, the electronic Sex Offender Rehabilitation and Notification (eSORN) database, Department of Rehabilitation and Correction records, Bureau of Motor Vehicle databases, the Ohio Local Law Enforcement Information Sharing Network (OLLEISN) and various other information sources. Through OLLEISN, registered law-enforcement users can share their incident reports and other investigative records with agencies throughout the state.

"Using OHLEG-SE, our officers are able to narrow investigations in minutes," Summit County Sheriff Drew Alexander said. "We are using the system each day to help us quickly track down suspects."

In November, 13 agencies piloted OHLEG-SE. Those agencies include the Canal Fulton, Dayton, Grandview Heights, Hamilton, Mansfield, Northwood and Powell police departments; Delaware County, Erie County, Richland County and Summit County sheriff's offices; Ohio State Highway Patrol; and Delaware County Prosecutor's Office.

All of the 13 agencies piloting OHLEG-SE reported positive results. Powell officers used the system to track down a housecleaner accused of theft. The suspected thief went by two different names, which investigators inputted in OHLEG-SE to pull up an array of suspect pictures for the victim to review. As a result, the alleged perpetrator was identified in minutes. In Erie County, investigators searched OHLEG using a partial vehicle description and a name connected to a series of home invasions in the area. The information they obtained from OHLEG led to the arrests of six suspects and the recovery of nearly $55,000 in stolen property. Within 24 hours of making OHLEG-SE available to their officers in the field, the Hamilton Police Department used it to positively identify a suspect with warrants for his arrest who presented false information to officers.

"OHLEG-SE is the equivalent of Google for law enforcement," Petro said. "Information that could lead officers to their prime suspect is just a mouse click away."

All law-enforcement officers with an OHLEG account can use the search engine.