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Community Safety, Security, & Effective Justice

The general responsibilities of security and justice are among the most basic and most important that any county shoulders.

Nothing else can work well in the community if it isn’t safe, and the commissioners’ core principle committing to Community Safety, Security, and Effective Justice is one that they take very seriously. Almost 60% of the county’s General Fund budget supports safety, security, and justice initiatives and agencies such as the sheriff, court systems, county jail, and the commissioners’ office of Justice Policy and Programs.  

Emergency Management and Homeland Security

The Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, or EMA, coordinates disaster planning, education, warning, response, and recovery efforts in order to prepare and protect the residents of Franklin County before, during, and after natural and man-made disasters.

One of the things that EMA has been busiest with this year is the ongoing COVID-19 response, with which it has worked very closely with the commissioners and Franklin County Public Health.

man on a wheelchair

2021 EMA Personal Protective Equipment Distribution

The EMA Emergency Operations Center continues to monitor daily COVID cases, statistics, and the availability of hospital rooms and ventilators, as well as managing requests for at-home test kits and distributing more than eight million pieces of personal protective equipment. 


EMA also oversees the Franklin County Medical Reserve Corps, the expansion of our community’s Emergency Communications Radio System, and won an award as the first county “super-user” of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s new secure nationwide communications network.

Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attack Exercise

In August of last year, the Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security put on the largest emergency response exercise Central Ohio has ever seen, testing our community’s ability to respond to a large-scale terrorist attack spread across multiple locations.

Franklin County was one of 28 sites around the nation to receive a grant for such an exercise, which simulated several coordinated attacks with volunteer actor “victims” at multiple locations.Five hundred people from more than 80 public safety agencies and even non-governmental organizations participated in the exercise.

Responders had to quickly set up command posts and manage the deployment of patrol officers, SWAT teams, bomb squads, hazmat teams, and medical first responders - all from different departments. The whole exercise was overseen from EMA’s Emergency Operations Center, and the ability of the various agencies to communicate and work together was tested in a real-world scenario. An extensive after-action report identified strengths and weaknesses to help the community better prepare for a terrorist attack.

One of the things that Ohio counties are constitutionally required to do is operate jail facilities.

Franklin County has two jails but is replacing the downtown jail, which was built more than 50 years ago and designed for an outdated model of corrections. The new jail on Fisher Road will open in 2022, and is designed both with safety in mind and to reduce recidivism.

Franklin County Coroner

The Franklin County Coroner also just moved into a new state-of-the-art Forensic Science Center in the Southwest part of our county.

The new facility is much larger and better-equipped than the previous one, and allows the coroner’s team to perform more post-mortem examinations and process samples in the on-site lab much faster than before.

Coroner Cases by Year

Justice Policy and Programs

The commissioners Office of Justice Policy and Programs serves as the Metropolitan County Criminal Justice Services Agency for Franklin County and coordinates with the county’s Criminal Justice Planning Board. Its team members oversee reentry planning for incarcerated residents returning to the community, intimate partner violence prevention, the national data driven Justice initiative called Stepping Up, and also incorporates CASA of Franklin County, the Court Appointed Special Advocates program that looks out for the best interests of children who don’t have anyone else to speak for them.

The Rapid Resource Center

In 2021, the Office of Justice Policy and Programs opened a first-of-its-kind Rapid Resource Center in the county jail to provide services directly to individuals or the family members of people who are being released from jail.

Justice Policy and Programs

  • Distributed 1,928 Narcan kits to at-risk individuals released from Franklin County jails
  • 2,103 survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking received victim services
  • Training was provided to 550 justice practitioners on the dynamics of domestic violence
  • The Rapid Resource Center at the Jackson Pike Correctional Facility linked 1,141 people to benefits, clothing and more
  • JPP’s Pathways Program, which provides case management services, assisted 80 women and 93 men prior to their release
  • 675 vulnerable youth who were abused or neglected and had proceedings with the Domestic and Juvenile Court were represented by CASA volunteers

Animal Care & Control 

The Franklin County Dog Shelter and Adoption Center falls under the commissioners’ department of Animal Care and Control, which enforces the laws related to dog ownership in order to keep the public safe as well as providing compassionate care and adoption services for the animals at our dog shelter.



The team at our county dog shelter does an amazing job of reuniting lost dogs with their families and helping other families find new best friends to adopt.