October 20, 2014

Medina
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New task force’s mission: Keep crime out

Medina County police agencies have created a task force aimed at cutting the flow of drugs along the county’s highways and interstates.

Gary Hubbard, director of the county Drug Task Force, said the new Criminal Patrol Task Force will be similar to the OVI Task Force, which gathers officers from across the county to crack down on problem drivers.

The Drug Task Force will oversee the program.

Hubbard said several Ohio counties have similar task forces, but Medina County’s is the only one consisting of officers from as many agencies.

The task force includes sheriff’s deputies and officers from Brunswick and Wadsworth cities, Lodi and Spencer villages, and Medina, Montville and Brunswick Hills townships.

“To have this many departments involved is incredibly unique,” Hubbard said.

He said the officers involved received special training and were chosen based on a variety of factors.

“Not every officer in the county is participating, but the ones who (are), were selected for various reasons,” Hubbard said. “The ones who were chosen received specific training and have advanced knowledge on what to look for in terms of criminal activity.”

Hubbard stressed the task force is set up to target crime in general, not just drugs.

“This is specifically to make it harder for criminals to come into Medina County,” Hubbard said.

Sheriff’s Capt. David Centner said the task force is an idea whose time has come.

“The sheriff, along with the participating chiefs of police, several months ago sat down and began collaborating to try to set up the Criminal Patrol Task Force to further our efforts in curbing our growing drug problem in Medina County,” Centner said. “We’re very excited to get the task force off the ground and see what we can do.”

Centner said the drug epidemic in Medina County is real, even if most residents don’t see it.

“We’re all affected by it. Regardless of whether it touches you or your family personally, it affects all of us,” Centner said. “Medina County does have a drug problem, and it’s certainly something we need to address so we can stop it — or at least reduce it.”

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.