Law Enforcement Fighting Back Against Drugs and Related Crime

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With drug addiction a growing epidemic across Ohio, law enforcement are seeing an increase in drug related crimes.   In an effort to fight back, officers have expanded their resources to a statewide level.

Ohio’s Task Force Commander’s Association, OTFCA, is a statewide drug initiative, urging law enforcement from communities throughout Ohio to communicate with one another to tackle the state’s drug problem.  The idea is that as the amount of drugs in the state decreases, so will the amount of drug related crimes.

OTFCA is partnered with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and is made up of 42 task forces, serving 71 counties in Ohio.  Over the course of several weeks, OTFCA led a statewide drug enforcement initiative that led to more than 400 arrests and 5 million dollars worth of drugs seized. Overall, these drug sweeps resulted in more than 600 drug charges throughout the state with heroine topping the charts.

“With the work that these guys do, 24/7 around the state, it helps every community feel a little bit safer,” Chief Brandon Standley with the Bellefontaine Police Department said.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said this is a great start but too many communities are experiencing this epidemic.

“You need to be involved. If you don’t think you have a problem. You either do have a problem or you will have a problem,” DeWine said.

Through communication with one another, it is easier for law enforcement to pin-point where these drugs are coming from and busts major drug distributors.

“These drugs come from Columbus, they come from Toledo, they come from Michigan and they come from everywhere. That gives us a better handle and origin of where these drugs start from and when they come down to Athens County,” Athens County Sheriff Rodney Smith said.  “We’ve certainly disrupted the supply lines of the major drug dealers but we’re never done.”

Smith said that with the help of OTFCA he has seen a difference in the Athens’ community.

“Crime is down in Athens County just because these are related and we’ve reduced the amount of drugs coming to Athens County,” Smith said.