State briefs

Governor announces office to help immigrants

COLUMBUS (AP) — Ohio Gov. John Kasich has announced the creation of an office and advisory committee aimed at helping legal immigrants successfully integrate in the state.

The Republican governor says the Office of Opportunities for New Americans and the 12-person New Americans Advisory Committee will help break down state government barriers to finding jobs.

Kasich said Tuesday that immigrants bring vitality and energy to Ohio and the state needs to help however it can. The governor’s initiative includes a website to help connect new immigrants with state programs. Ohio has about 500,000 legal immigrants.

Kasich has taken a conciliatory approach to immigrant issues, joining a bipartisan group of governors calling for the preservation of a program that protects immigrants brought to the U.S. as young children from deportation.

Man charged with aggravated murder in young son’s death

PARMA — A northeast Ohio man who drove to a police station and surrendered to officers saying he’d committed a crime has been charged with aggravated murder in the apparent stabbing death of his 18-month-old son.

Police in the Cleveland suburb of Parma say 41-year-Jason Shorter’s son, Nicholas, was in the trunk of his car when he drove to the station Saturday night with self-inflicted cuts on his arm.

The toddler was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead. A Parma police spokesman says the toddler apparently had been stabbed in the chest.

Jason Shorter was taken to a Cleveland hospital, where he remains under police guard.

Court records don’t list an attorney for him.

Council OKs laws aimed at reducing violence

COLUMBUS — The Columbus City Council has approved new laws aimed at reducing violence in Ohio’s capital city.

The council voted 6-0 on Monday to ban bump stocks in the city; prohibit people from brandishing imitation firearms like Airsoft guns in public while prohibiting sales of imitation guns to minors; allow the city to shut down businesses where violent crime has occurred; and include people who are dating to victims and suspects of domestic violence.

The Cincinnati City Council recently approved a new law prohibiting bump stocks, which effectively turn semi-automatic rifles like AR-15s into automatics by greatly reducing recoil.

Columbus had a record number of homicides in 2017, most of which were committed with guns.

Amazon to build 6th distribution center in Ohio

COLUMBUS — Internet retail giant Amazon says it plans to build another large distribution center in Ohio.

The Columbus Dispatch reports the newest center will employ 1,500 people in the village of West Jefferson, roughly 18 miles (29 kilometers) west of Columbus in Madison County.

Officials say the center is expected to open by the end of next year. It will become Amazon’s third distribution center in the Columbus area.

An Amazon spokesman said in a statement the company’s growth in Ohio results from “an outstanding workforce and incredible customers.” The Seattle-based company says it employs more than 6,000 people in the state.

Columbus remains one of 20 finalists for Amazon’s planned second headquarters, which promises 50,000 jobs and a $5 billion investment.

Columbus police creating digital forensic unit

COLUMBUS — Police in Ohio’s capital city of Columbus are creating a new digital forensics unit for officers to analyze and download information from cellphones taken during investigations.

The Columbus Dispatch reports the new unit is expected to be fully staffed by year’s end.

Police Chief Kim Jacobs says there’s a big need for the digital unit, pointing out that 20 cellphones were taken from a house in one homicide case, leaving the analysis to one detective who covers all three homicide shifts.

Detective James Howe says location information extracted from phones can sometimes put killers near crime scenes. He says it typically takes him three to four hours to search a phone.

Jacobs says the unit will be funded with money exchanged for the department’s help with federal task force cases.