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Kasich signs act named for slain Clark County deputy

Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a bill on Tuesday honoring slain Clark County Deputy Suzanne Hopper.

The Suzanne Hopper Act is designed to keep law enforcement officers safe by giving them access to more information about potentially dangerous people with a history of mental illness.

Hopper was killed in the line of duty in January 2011 by Michael Ferryman, who had a history of mental illness, at the Enon Beach Campground.

The bill requires courts to report to law enforcement when people ordered for mental illness evaluation or treatment are found guilty or convicted of a violent crime. Courts also would have to report information to local law enforcement in the instance of the conditional release of a person found incompetent to stand trial or not guilty by reason of insanity.

Local law enforcement agencies would then enter that information into a database easily accessible by officers before confronting potentially dangerous persons.

Ferryman, 53, had been found not guilty by reason of insanity for an incident 10 years prior in which he fired at police officers. Ferryman was granted conditional release from a mental health institution, but Hopper and other officers did not know that when they arrived on the scene.

The bill was sponsored by Republican Senators Chris Widener of Springfield and Bill Beagle of Tipp City.

“The story of Deputy Suzanne Hopper is just one example of a local hero who has sacrificed their own life while serving and protecting our community,” said Widener. “I can think of no way to better honor her life than by taking every possible step to keep our citizens and protectors safe.”

Columbus Bureau reporter Jackie Borchardt contributed to this report.

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