Community Safety, Security, & Effective Justice

Providing for the safety and security of Franklin County residents is among the commissioners’ most important duties and one they take very seriously. Almost 60% of the commissioners’ General Fund budget supports safety, security, and justice programs such as the Sheriff’s Office, the county court system, Animal Care and Control, and the jail. In addition to protecting residents, the commissioners are also committed to the ideals of smart justice and a justice system that supports the people with whom it is in contact so that they can be successful in the community and to reduce recidivism.

Agency Partner: Justice Policy and Programs

The commissioners’ Office of Justice Policy and Programs provides comprehensive justice planning and oversight to support smart justice initiatives, and also includes CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), which advocates for the best interests of abused, neglected, and dependent children in the courts and child welfare system. Through legal advocacy, CASA volunteers work to interrupt generational trauma and ensure that children are in safe and loving homes.

In 2023, CASA of Franklin County served 767 children, a 10% increase over 2022, and a CASA attorney became one of the first in Ohio to be designated a Child Welfare Law Specialist by the National Association of Counsel for Children. Justice Policy and Programs also connected 218 residents with medication-assisted treatment and post-release treatment services, a 38% increase.

2023 Justice Policy and Programs Stats:


victims and survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and/or sexual assault were provided with services.


providers of services to survivors of domestic violence were provided training.


naloxone kits distributed to at-risk individuals released from the Franklin County Correctional Centers.


residents were linked to mental health and/or substance use treatment.


justice practitioners were taught the dynamics of domestic violence.


people were enrolled in and received case management and peer support through the Pathways program.


justice-involved fathers were enrolled in a parenting program offered at the Franklin County Jail and Community Based Correctional Facility.

Community Partner: Emergency Management and Homeland Security

The county’s Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (EMA) coordinates and prepares for natural disasters and man-made hazards in order to help keep our community safe. EMA focuses extensively on community education, first-responder coordination, and grant funding to ensure that Franklin County is prepared and resilient.

In 2023, the county purchased the land and facility that EMA has long used as a headquarters, providing much-needed long-term stability for the agency. EMA also approved agreements to use the Greater Columbus Convention Center as a family and victim assistance center if it’s ever needed, much as it was set up to be used as an overflow hospital during the pandemic. The Franklin County Natural Hazard Mitigation plan that the agency oversees includes a risk assessment and mitigation strategy for critical facilities that will help keep our county up and running in the case of future natural disasters.

2023 EMA Stats:


hours of training provided to…


local public safety and health personnel.


participation rate from local jurisdictions in the Natural Hazard Mitigation planning project.

$3.1 Million

in disaster, security, and hazardous materials grants secured and overseen.

Program Highlight: Emergency Communication

In the event of a natural disaster or man-made hazard, safety officials have a number of ways to communicate with the public in order to help keep them safe, many of which are coordinated by the county’s Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency.

Franklin County’s Outdoor Warning Siren System consists of 198 sirens spaced around the county and divided among four quadrants so that warnings can be directed locally. The sirens are maintained to a very high standard of 99.9% fully operational status, and tested each week at noon on Wednesday. They can broadcast a siren or spoken messages at 70 decibels, which is enough to be heard more than a mile away. When the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning, the sirens will sound for three minutes followed by seven minutes of silence, with the sequence repeating until the warning is canceled.

ALERT Franklin County is a county-wide mass notification system and important compliment to the tornado sirens that can be used to alert residents about severe weather and important emergency information on their electronic devices. It causes mobile phones in the affected area to alarm and is enabled automatically unless it has been turned off by the user. To learn more, visit

FCReady is a text message alert system that can send detailed information about developing emergency situations (that are not weather-related) and what residents can do to stay safe. To sign up for FCReady, simply text “FCReady” to 888777.

The Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS) is a collaboration among local jurisdictions and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to send electronic alerts directly to cell phones and through local broadcasters via the Emergency Alert System.

Emergency Communication

Agency Partner: Franklin County Coroner’s Office

The Franklin County Coroner’s Office is charged with investigating unexpected and unattended deaths in our community, and with doing so in a compassionate, respectful, and professional manner. The office investigates more than 3,000 cases each year, including performing an average of nearly five autopsies each day and, in 2023, completed 96% of autopsies within three months of the decedent’s passing, a significant improvement.

This year, the coroner’s office also worked to successfully identify two previously unidentified decedents, bringing closure to families that had not known the fate of their loved ones since 1992 and 2006, respectively. Also, this year, the coroner’s Forensic Toxicology Laboratory was accredited by the American National Standards Institute, one of only 16 in the United States and Canada to receive this accreditation.

Community Safety, Security, & Effective Justice
Community Safety, Security, & Effective Justice
Community Safety, Security, & Effective Justice
Community Safety, Security, & Effective Justice

Agency Partner: Franklin County Public Health

Franklin County Public Health is a full-service health department that works to improve the health of Franklin County and the 41 municipalities it serves by preventing disease, promoting healthy living, and protecting against public health threats through education, policies, and partnership. The agency’s Community Health Improvement Plan addresses important health priorities, acknowledges existing impact work, and highlights a new social determinants of health framework. The new FCPH Data Hub also displays metrics, dashboards, maps, and reports to evaluate the community’s health and the agency’s programs.

One of Public Health’s initiatives in 2023 was a pilot program with the commissioners’ health and human services agencies to provide transitional housing and other supportive services to struggling residents. Neighborhoods and housing security are a social determinant of health in Franklin County and have a direct impact on health outcomes. This program connects families with Community Health Workers who will meet with them regularly to build relationships and connect the residents with the services their families need to thrive.

2023 Public Health Stats:


health literacy trainings conducted for more than 2,500 participants.


home visits and telephone consultations conducted by public health nurses.


safe sleep assessments for families with infants.


vaccines were administered.


at-home COVID-19 tests were distributed.


food safety inspections were carried out.


body art permits were awarded.


locations were inspected for lead paint.


animals were tested for rabies.


naloxone kits were distributed.


tobacco cessation trainings were conducted.

Community Safety, Security, & Effective Justice
Community Safety, Security, & Effective Justice
Community Safety, Security, & Effective Justice
Community Safety, Security, & Effective Justice

Agency Partner: Franklin County Sheriff’s Office

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office works to protect and serve all of our community’s residents. In 2023, the sheriff’s office added a new Recruitment Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion division that is dedicated to cultivating a diverse and inclusive workforce that reflects the community as a whole. The office expects to host three sheriff’s academy classes in the coming year as part of its goal to hire 100 new deputies.

Another program in the county sheriff’s office is the Central Ohio Violence Eradication Response Team, or COVERT Task Force, which represents an innovative approach to reducing violent crime and creating pathways to success for at-risk residents by connecting them with services to address the root causes of crime in our community.

Program Highlight: SAFER Station

In 2021, the commissioners were awarded a grant for the Stop Addiction For Everyone Resource (SAFER) Station, which led to the creation of a new SAFE Station at a municipal firehouse in the community that included a multidisciplinary team that could screen, refer, and transport residents seeking help directly to substance use treatment services. Since then, the project has left the firehouse and taken up residence in Franklinton at 368 W. Park Avenue, but it still provides walk-in harm reduction, education, free naloxone and fentanyl test strips, and direct linkage to substance use treatment, including transportation to the client’s chosen facility.

SAFER Station

The program is designed to engage the addiction and recovery community with compassion and support for their current needs, and the multidisciplinary team uses a First Responder Diversion model to:

  • Expand awareness about, access to, and availability of substance use treatment in Franklin County.
  • Target naloxone distribution and overdose prevention education.
  • Provide brief case management and support services for patients as early post-detox intervention for risk of overdose.

The team can even help with other services such as connection to mental health resources and enrollment in SNAP, Medicaid, and other benefits, and has become an important outpost of hope in a struggling neighborhood.

Agency Partner: Franklin County Animal Care and Control

The Franklin County Dog Shelter and Adoption Center is operated by the commissioners’ Animal Care and Control agency, and continues to be a healing, though temporary, home for nearly 10,000 dogs each year. Animal Care and Control responsibly enforces the dog laws in Franklin County, keeping the public safe from animal-related health or safety dangers, and provides compassionate care for impounded animals at the shelter, as well as education, adoption, and lost dog services to the community.

This year, in addition to its regular work, the shelter was one of the county agencies that responded to support residents who were forced out of their homes at the holidays during an emergency at their apartment complex, providing free boarding, medical care, and other resources for their pets as they worked to secure new long-term housing.


  • 3,244 dogs impounded.
  • 2,218 strays brought in by the public.
  • 20 puppies born in the shelter.


  • 3,322 adoptions.
  • 1,677 dogs reclaimed by owners.
  • 1,360 dogs in foster homes.
Community Safety, Security, & Effective Justice
Community Safety, Security, & Effective Justice
Community Safety, Security, & Effective Justice

2023 Animal Care and Control Stats:


spay/neutering procedures performed.


volunteers provided 28,198 hours of their time to support the community’s dogs.


microchips implanted.


dogs visited Franklin County homes for the holidays as part of the Holiday Sleepover program (a new record).

We recognize the bond between people and their pets, and that safeguarding that relationship is crucial to keeping families whole.

~ Kaye Persinger, Director of Animal Care and Control