Pike, Jackson and Highland counties are among 40 Ohio counties expected to benefit from a $2 million federal grant announced Tuesday.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray made the announcement that the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation received the grant to improve law-enforcement access in rural areas to criminal justice data, including palm prints, mug shots and misdemeanor arrest information.

This improved access will come from additions to BCI's Automated Fingerprint Identification System.

"Law enforcement in rural Ohio is suffering financially," Cordray said. "These federal dollars will allow BCI to help them by building stronger crime-fighting tools. For example, investigators have hundreds of thousands of palm prints in their hands -- both from crime scenes and suspect images. But to be able to take all of those from all around the state and put them into a searchable database provides a significant new resource to solve more crimes."