The department was founded on July 9, 1921. It began as a minor records keeping facility in conjunction with the Department of Public Welfare. A few years later, it was moved to the Department of Mental Hygiene and Corrections. The Department of Corrections originally housed BCI in the basement of the Ohio State Penitentiary in Columbus, Ohio until a fire and subsequent threat of riot by inmates in 1930 forced a move to the London Prison Farm. During those early years, inmate labor performed most of the work. Archives show these inmates reviewing, indexing and sorting fingerprint records. In the 1940s, BCI also had a printing press, and used inmate labor to produce the book entitled, "The Science of Fingerprint Classification: As Taught and Used in the Ohio State Bureau of Identification and Investigation." Criminal investigations on a very small scale were carried out by the laboratory division. In 1959, an 11,350-square-foot (1,054 m2) structure was erected in front of London Prison Farm. At the same time, the Investigations Division was formally added, investigative field agents were hired and the name was changed from Bureau of Criminal Identification to Bureau of Criminal Identification & Investigation. In 1963, BCI was taken over by the Attorney General's Office and was given a broader range of activities. In 1972, Attorney General William Brown reorganized BCI into five separate divisions: identification, laboratory, investigations, administration, and data systems. In 1998 under the tutelage of former Attorney General Betty Montgomery, a $20.3 million dollar, 122,000-square-foot (11,300 m2) facility was erected which allowed BCI to be more visible to the community and expands its assistance to law enforcement. Since 1999, the Bureau has grown to staff more than 300 employees within its four main divisions: laboratory, investigations, administration, and identification.
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