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Police unveil web-based system to share information

Ohio top law enforcement official Tuesday unveiled a new information-sharing system for police agencies.

State Attorney General Jim Petro says the web-based system is designed to detect and deter potential terrorists. But, two of Central Ohio's largest police agencies say it will help in other ways too.

With the help of $27 million in federal Homeland Security money, Columbus Police, The Franklin County Sheriff's office and 21 other police agencies will be linked electronically in what's being dubbed a "Terrorism Prevention Program."

Columbus Deputy Chief John Rockwell says until now local investigators had few means to quickly share crime data or information with other jurisdictions.

The new program allows investigators in participating agencies to access data-bases through the use of a password. Franklin County Sheriff Chief Deputy Steve Martin welcomes the cooperation.

He speculates the suspect in the recent Highway Shooting investigation would have been identified earlier.

62-year-old Gail Knisley of Washington Courthouse was killed on the south outerbelt during Thanksgiving week of 2003.

Martin says had investigators been able to search data-bases at the Ohio Highway Patrol and the Columbus Division of Police it would have speeded the investigation. Now, those inter-agency database searches are possible.