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Director, Ohio Department of Public Safety
John Born was appointed director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety (DPS) in 2013 by Governor John R. Kasich. He previously served as Colonel and superintendent of the Ohio State Highway Patrol capping a 26-year law enforcement career. Through safety, service and protection, the 3,600 DPS employees are dedicated to the mission of contributing to a safer Ohio through seven divisions: the Ohio State Highway Patrol; Bureau of Motor Vehicles; Homeland Security; Emergency Management Agency; Emergency Medical Services; Ohio Investigative Unit; and Office of Criminal Justice Services.
In 2013, the Department implemented the Safer Ohio Initiative which contributed to record low numbers of traffic crash fatalities and the fewest number of alcohol-impaired crash deaths in Ohio while criminal interdiction increased to record levels. That year, Ohio led the United States in the greatest reduction in traffic crash deaths.
The Safer Ohio Initiative also incorporates a comprehensive strategy of emergency preparedness. For the first time in Ohio history, the Ohio Emergency Management Agency is now providing 24/7/365 support and operational staffing through an integrated intelligence approach. Consolidated departmental resources have also allowed additional investments in intelligence analytic services for law enforcement, homeland security and first responders.
Additional components include the development and training of Safe Ohio Teams, training and equipping of Emergency Resource Teams, certification and deployment of state employees to serve the American Red Cross, purchase and prepositioning of key emergency equipment and services, development of new private and public sector partnerships, improving security and hardening of key infrastructure, and developing additional technological applications to leverage public participation.
Director Born helped develop key elements of Governor Kasich’s Safer Schools Initiative including integrating Ohio Homeland Security threat assessment and safety plan reviews while also deploying explosive-detection canines for the first time to Ohio’s state universities. A new Threat Assessment and Prevention Unit (TAP) is staffed with analysts who completed U.S. Secret Service and FBI threat assessment training and are now integrated into school safety efforts.
An investment in training has been bolstered with the recent integration of an undergraduate level public safety leadership course conducted by The Ohio State University and a graduate level multi-year course operated by the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police. Training for both programs is now conducted at the newly opened leadership wing at the Ohio State Highway Patrol Academy. Ohio now also leads the nation in first responders trained in the Traffic Incident Management safety program and the number of certified Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) officers have increased to take Ohio from one of the lowest DRE officer trained states to one of the states with among the most.
Cost reductions, such as the transition of the last state operated BMV Customer Service Center in Columbus to a private sector operation has led to a $1 million annual state payroll reduction while also creating private sector jobs and increasing public service to six days per week. Building on the BMV’s highest reported customer satisfaction in the country, new 24/7 BMV customer self-service terminals will also soon be piloted in Ohio to allow Ohioans to receive vehicle registration renewals stickers in grocery stores and other retail businesses.
As Patrol Superintendent, his reprioritization of the Patrol's focus elevated criminal patrol to the same mission level as highway safety and led to a record interdiction of over $147 million in drugs and contraband in just three years. He implemented significant changes to the Patrol's organizational structure. To streamline operations, he directed the merging of homeland security, intelligence, and communications through the creation of the Hub; a center staffed 24/7/365 by Patrol commanders, intelligence analysts and communications staff. In addition, a number of officers were moved from general headquarters into operational roles, a senior advisors group was created to broaden field commander input into key decisions, metro patrol posts were established in Ohio’s most-populous counties, and Patrol drug-detecting canines were increased to the most in Patrol history and the new dogs were assigned to locations throughout the state.
From 2011 to 2013, the Patrol’s law enforcement partnerships were dramatically strengthened through “Shield” details where troopers and local law enforcement officers work together to reduce crashes, target criminal activity and wanted felons, and improve the quality of life for citizens. Maximizing law enforcement collaboration, more troopers were assigned to federal and local task forces than ever before in the Patrol’s history. During that same time, the Ohio Investigative Unit was merged with the Patrol’s Office of Criminal Investigations and led to Ohio’s national leadership role in trace-back investigations of alcohol violations which contribute to alcohol-related crash fatalities. The Ohio Traffic Safety Office was merged under Patrol oversight to better coordinate federally-funded traffic safety efforts. Personnel shortages were repaired with the graduation of five cadet classes. In two years, the Patrol selected, hired and trained nearly 300 new troopers while operating on a budget that had remained the same since 2007. Cadet training was cut from 30 weeks to 22 weeks, saving more than $580,000 through more efficient scheduling of cadet time. A nationally innovative statewide computer model, TEV (time efficiency value), also was established to better measure and balance road troopers’ time. The Patrol’s first major statewide field re-structuring since 1953 was also undertaken reducing the number of Patrol districts from 10 to eight.
Director Born holds Bachelor of Science in journalism and Master of Social Science in deviant behavior degrees from Ohio University. He completed the FBI’s National Executive Institute, governance training at Harvard Business School, and leadership training at the United States Army War College. He serves as co-chair of Ohio’s Task Force on Community and Police Relations, and previously chaired an international law enforcement officer safety effort, served as chairman of Ohio’s law enforcement computer network and previously served as Chairman of the Board of one of Ohio’s five state pension systems.
He has earned the United States Department of Homeland Security Partnership Award, the United States Secret Service Director’s Honor Award, and the International Association of Chiefs of Police prestigious J. Stannard Baker award.
He and his wife, Kathy, who have been married for nearly 30 years, have two grown children.