PDT Staff Writer
Since March 25, Lt. Mike Gore has been getting his feet wet as the newest commander of the Portsmouth Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
“It’s going well,” Gore said. “It’s a different kind of busy than I was in Ironton. I guess that’s hard to explain, but I have more people that I have to keep track of now. I have the dispatchers. Ironton wasn’t a dispatch location. I have additional personnel, and this is a busier area. We did not have the amount of drugs and things in the Ironton area that we have here.”
Gore has quickly familiarized himself with the drug corridor that runs from Detroit to Columbus to Portsmouth and beyond.
Gore said it is not true that troopers are only recently spending a large amount of time dealing with criminal activity in relation to traffic safety.
“That’s kind of a misnomer,” Gore said. “Because we always have done that. It’s just that now we’re making bigger seizures because we have more up-to-date training. It used to be that you had maybe one or two guys that were really good at picking that stuff out, and now everybody has had enhanced Patrol training. So now you have a whole group of troopers at your post that are good at identifying violations of criminal laws, as opposed to just one or two that have specialties. You still have one or two guys that are really good, like (trooper) Nick Lewis.”
Gore said it is important people know that his department has not lost its focus on trying to reduce the number of fatalities recorded each year.
“The program that we’re operating under now is called Trooper Shield, and in that, commanders are responsible for putting together whatever kind of programs they can to reduce the number of fatalities that they have,” Gore said.
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol website, under Trooper Shield, troopers are targeting impaired and dangerous drivers while concentrating on criminal patrol efforts and major crimes occurring on Ohio’s highways. There is now an equal emphasis on traffic safety and criminal patrol. However, the Patrol will not be petty fault finders, as troopers are being directed to focus their efforts on the problems that are most important to the motorists they serve. Troopers are tasked with ensuring that children drive on roads safer than we drive on today. To accomplish this, an increased emphasis is being placed on arresting impaired drivers. Provisional data indicates that in 2010 Patrol OVI arrests were their lowest in 25 years. This decrease in enforcement coupled with an increase in fatalities on Ohio’s roadways has been deemed unacceptable, in light of the fact that alcohol and impaired traffic crash deaths remain a significant problem in Ohio.
One of the places Gore is taking a long hard look at is the Ohio 73/Ohio 104 split, which has been the site of numerous crashes including two recent wrecks in which semi-tractor-trailer rigs have overturned.
“I have a plan to meet with ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) to see if there is something that we can do,” Gore said.
Gore began his Patrol career in 1986 as cadet dispatcher at the Jackson Post. Less than a year later he began training as a member of the 116th Academy Class. He earned his commission in September 1987 and was assigned to the Ironton Post, where he was selected as Post Trooper of the Year 1996.
In 1997, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant and transferred to the Jackson Post to serve as an assistant post commander. In 1999, he transferred back to the Ironton Post. In 2005, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant and took command of the Ironton Post. Gore completed training at Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command in 2007.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.