UPDATE @ 11:50 a.m. (March 18)
More than a dozen people went to jail during a patrol blitz by four law enforcement agencies in Bethel Twp. Friday night.
Clark County deputies teamed up with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Springfield police and the U.S. Marshal’s Office to conduct the blitz during the St. Patrick’s Day festivities.
Out of 159 traffic stops, 16 people were taken to jail for various offenses, according to Clark County Major Gary Cox.
By the numbers
159: Total traffic stops
16: Subjects taken to jail
6: Arrested on 10 misdemeanor warrants
2: Arrested for failure to appear felony warrants
4: Arrested on fugitive warrants
2: No license plates
1: No operator’s license
10: Seat belt violations
4: Driving under suspension
1: Open container
5: OVI suspects
2: Marijuana possession
1: Juvenile in possession of marijuana
7: Felony drug possession charges (methamphetamine, pills, mushrooms and crack cocaine)
4: Stores cited for underage alcohol sales
1: Conveyance of contraband into jail
1: Obstructing official business charge
2: Failure to comply charges
2: Underage possession of alcohol
EARLIER (March 17)
Multiple police agencies worked together Friday night to crack down on drug and traffic violations in Bethel Twp.
Four police agencies held a blitz where they heavily patroled the township. More than 20 police cruisers hit the streets as officers pursued drugs and other criminal activity. The agencies involved included the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Springfield Police Division and the U.S. Marshal’s Service.
“There have been blitzes before but never before where all these different agencies were working together,” Clark County Sheriff Deb Burchett said.
The agencies conducted the operation at the request of the township trustees.
“We did this on a smaller scale last year and it really seemed to quiet things down for a while,” Bethel Twp. Trustee Nancy Brown said. “As the warm weather is approaching, we wanted people to know that we are still diligent in watching out for the residents of the township.”
Bethel Twp. is no different than any other township, she said, and drugs can be found anywhere.
“Having a police presence is a deterrent,” she said. “We had very positive feedback last year when we did this.”
Lt. Brian Aller, commander of the Ohio State Highway Patrol Springfield, Post also said last year’s blitz was well received with residents.
“People talked about the (2016) blitz for months and kept asking about it,” he said. “They want us to do it again — to make sure people are doing the right thing.”
MORE ON DRUGS: Clark County drug overdoses double in 24-hour spike
Last year’s operation in Bethel Twp. resulted in the recovery of a stolen car, gun and several drug charges.
The teamwork between the sheriff’s office and the state patrol shows that the agencies can work together, he said, to protect the law-abiding residents of Clark County. Residents are safer when police work together, he said, and Burchett said that’s one of her top goals as sheriff.
“This is what the citizens of this community elected me to do, was to join forces with other agencies and try to clean the drugs up off the street,” Burchett said.
It’s important for residents to see deputies and officers on the streets, she said, and actively working to ensure their community is safe.
“The community in Bethel Twp. and the city of New Carlisle will be very impressed,” she said.
Aller said getting drugs and drunken drivers off the roadway was a priority of the operation, and Burchett said authorities also looked for people with warrants and any other illegal activity.
It likely won’t be the last blitz that takes place in the township, Brown said.
“I am sure we will do it more than once this year,” she said. “It quieted things down a lot.”
And the sheriff said she expects the agencies to work together to patrol other areas of the county as well.
“It will not be our last,” she said. “We are going to try to do this all over.”