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West Side Police News & Notes

4/10/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Akron Municipal Court announces first participant to complete new program

DOWNTOWN AKRON — The Akron Municipal Court announced April 3 the first Forensic Assertive Community Treatment (FACT) program participant will successfully complete the program this month. The participant appeared before Judge Jerry Larson last week.

The Akron Municipal Court has partnered with Community Support Services (CSS) for the last year as a member of the FACT multidisciplinary team.

The FACT model is designed to transition adults diagnosed with severe mental illness from correctional facilities into the community. The FACT program serves clients with lengthy criminal histories. The three core elements of FACT are: access to services, competent care and legal oversight.

Most referrals to the FACT program are from jails, prisons or other criminal justice systems. The FACT team works in partnership with criminal justice agencies to manage clients. Certain risk factors such as substance abuse, family problems, lack of recreational pursuits and/or history of anti-social behaviors are targeted to prevent criminal recidivism.

The Akron Municipal Court hired a new probation officer, Michele Franklin, LPCC–S, who is dedicated solely to the new mental health multidisciplinary team. The court created the position in conjunction with CSS through a grant provided by the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADM) Board. The position is fully funded through the grant, which will reimburse the court for costs associated with the FACT program.

Franklin serves as the court’s liaison and participates on the FACT team. She is a licensed professional clinical counselor with experience in the mental health and criminal justice field. 

“There is still a struggle even with the great strides achieved to join the two fields to better serve the needs of the community,” Franklin said. She added she hopes to be an asset to the system and to make an impact on probationers who are mentally ill, as well as provide structure and guidance to assist the probationers in getting back on track.

Since Franklin’s first day last July, she has interacted with CSS, Oriana House and the ADM Board to set up appointments for offenders. She currently has a caseload of 23 probationers who have been enrolled in the FACT program. Each Akron Municipal Court judge can refer an offender to the program for an assessment and determination of eligibility.

Franklin explained that offenders who are eligible for the program have a lengthy criminal history and severe mental health diagnosis, such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder or other disorders with psychosis.


ODPS reiterates underage drinking laws

COLUMBUS — Agents with the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s (ODPS) Ohio Investigative Unit are commending those parents and teens that make the decision not to participate in illegal and dangerous behavior, such as providing alcohol to minors and consuming underage.

“As a parent of two adult children, I can tell you this time in your child’s life is one of the most memorable for you and for them,” said ODPS Director John Born. “As a retired member of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, I can also tell you this time of celebration can easily turn into a time of tragedy because of the increased occurrences of underage drinking that may tempt your child at after-prom parties and graduation celebrations.”

To help foster good choices, ODPS wants parents and teens to understand Ohio’s underage drinking laws:

  • It is illegal to provide a place for your child and his/her friends to drink in a “safe” environment. Parents may not provide alcohol to youths younger than 21, who are not their own, even in their own home with the other parents’ permission. Those convicted of providing alcohol to a person younger than 21 face maximum sentences of six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
  • It is illegal to purchase alcohol for anyone younger than 21. Anyone who purchases, sells or gives alcoholic beverages to underage individuals faces a $1,000 fine and/or up to six months in jail.
  • If you are younger than 21 and are caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .02 percent or higher, a level that can be reached after just one or two drinks, you can be arrested. Punishment is suspension of your driver’s license for at least 90 days up to a maximum of two years, plus four points added to your driving record. Having an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle also is illegal.  

Those who have information about a bar, store or carryout selling beer and/or liquor to people younger than 21, or those who have information of an underage house party, are asked to notify the Ohio Investigative Unit by calling #677 from a cell phone.


Stephanie Kist contributed to these reports.

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