If it were the United States military, it would be called “a meeting of the top brass.” Leaders from all branches of area law enforcement met behind closed doors at an undisclosed location Thursday morning to discuss plans for future joint operations.
The meeting of top brass from the Ohio State Highway Patrol Jackson District, the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office, the Portsmouth Police Department, the New Boston Police Department, the Scioto County Prosecutor’s Office and the Southern Ohio Drug Task Force planned strategy for a multi-agency operation with a goal of shutting down drug operations and how to deal with high-traffic accident prone areas.
The purpose was to “get on the same page,” intelligence-wise, and to share information from agency to agency.
“Today we’re just meeting, all the agencies and the courts, and we’ll be getting with the probation officers and talking with the judges, and it’s just to share what we see in our own departments – what’s the Sheriff’s department seeing? What’s New Boston Seeing? What’s the Patrol seeing? What does the city see? and how can we combine together?” Lieutenant Karla Taulbee of the Jackson District of the OSHP said. “We don’t have the resources. Sometimes there’s just a few officers from each agency out, but all together, working together, combining all our resources, we can make a better and bigger impact on the county.”
Taulbee said the agencies tend to work together in high-traffic areas during high-traffic time periods such as Memorial Day weekend and the Fourth of July, but the kind of operation being planned on Thursday normally takes place twice a year, due to the fact that personnel has to be pulled from their individual departments to come to a joint meeting.
“Whenever we know there’s a problem, such as an issue concerning a bunch of crashes out in Wheelersburg, a bunch of fatals – we can call the Sheriff’s department and their officers will be out there working traffic with us,” Taulbee said. “If New Boston notices they’ve got a bunch of theft going on, they’ll call us. We call each other. It’s an extra set of eyes.”
Lieutenant Mike Gore, Commander of the Portsmouth Post of the OSHP, conducted the meeting, and set the stage by telling those present – “There’s going to be a criminal component and there’s going to be a traffic component.”
The meeting was preceded by breakfast served by Life Medical Response. State officials were also present to lend support.
“It keeps our doors open to each other and open communication throughout the time frame and other times these special details,” Captain John Murphy of the SCSO said. “We have the Highway Safety Grant through the state, and we work a lot with the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the city police department as well, through that grant. We’ll do OVI (Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence) checkpoints as well – the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, throughout those high-bltiz ‘Click it or Ticket’ areas, we work a lot with each other.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.