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Belmont County

Belmont County

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Officers in Belmont County work together in ‘Operation Short Shield’

Updated: Wednesday, April 23 2014, 05:59 PM EDT
BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio – It’s called “Operation Short Shield."
News9's Kate Davison climbed inside of a cruiser for a special report on how the collaboration between law enforcement agencies brings results.
Shield detail involves numerous agencies coming together for one common cause -- to enforce the law --in two separate facets: Criminal patrol and OVI patrol.
Last Friday night, Sgt. Jason Greenwood with the Ohio State Highway Patrol let NEWS9 tag along with him. The ride along was nothing less than eventful.
The event included more than 24 units and 36 continuous hours of patrol.
"We aggressively are looking for criminals, people that are operating vehicles while they're impaired," said Lt. James Faunda of the OSHP.
And a focused approach between members of the Belmont County Sheriff's Office, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Martins Ferry Police and the Belmont County Drug Task Force.
Its success rests on a combined effort of the agencies.
“We all know that we have a problem, from alcohol to drugs and criminal activities," Belmont County Sherriff Dave Lucas said.
First, a traffic stop on SR 149 in Bellaire led to several charges after troopers said a driver nearly T-boned a cruiser. Then, there was a Bellaire Police K9 hit, and the discovery of marijuana.
That stop led to charges of OVCI, possession of marijuana and driving under suspension.
“In Belmont County over half of the fatalities involve an impaired driver," Faunda said. “That impairment could be from alcohol, or it could be from controlled substance or a prescription medication."
Later that night on I-70, a blue ford pickup truck began weaving in and out of its lane with no apparent sign of stopping.
Officers call for backup. Sgt. Jason Greenwood attempted to administer a field sobriety test, but the driver decided he didn't want to try it.
Kerry Howell, 52, of Bethesda was taken to jail charged with OVI, driving in marked lanes, and failure to wear a seatbelt. This all came after he allegedly hit another vehicle minutes before officers caught up to him.
Here's the breakdown of some of the statistics from the 36-hour blitz compiled between agencies:
487 total vehicles were stopped
203 traffic stops with citation
8 OVI's
5 felony arrests
176 other misdemeanor citations

As for drugs...
50 grams of marijuana were seized,
1 gram of k2/spice
84 prescription pills..
2 grams of suboxone
2 grams of crystal meth.
“This is just a beginning,” Lucas said. “We're not going to stop. we're going to stay on top of it. We're going to work hard together, because this is our home, this is our community."
Faunda said he's worked in various counties around the state of Ohio, and Belmont County, in particular, is lucky to have the law enforcement environment it does because everyone works together and backs each other up.

Officers in Belmont County work together in ‘Operation Short Shield’

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