SOUTHINGTON - Area law enforcement spent last weekend seizing drugs, making drunken driving arrests and serving felony arrest warrants as part of the two-day "Shield Detail" in Trumbull County.
They reported that nearly 900 traffic stops resulted in more than 150 enforcement actions. Among them, partnering agencies arrested 18 drivers for operating a vehicle while intoxicated and issued 39 citations for seat belt violations. An additional 40 drivers were arrested for driving under license suspension.
The 35 officers who participated - including a helicopter from Columbus - also seized marijuana, cocaine, crack cocaine and prescription narcotics, which resulted in 21 drug-related arrests. At least three weapons, including two pistols and a knife, were also seized.
During the detail, officers removed 18 felons from the community on felony warrants, officials said.
"These results are a great example of the significant impact law enforcement can make when they combine resources to support the common goal of 'shielding' a community from the criminals and aggressive behavior," said Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Brian Holt, commander of the Warren post in Southington.
Along with OSP, the Trumbull County Sheriff's Office, Warren City Police Department, Niles City Police Department, Newton Falls Village Police Department, The Ohio Investigative Unit, U.S. Marshal's and the Trumbull County Adult Probation partnered to conduct initiative.
Holt said the goal was to combine state and local resources to address traffic and criminal violations and apprehend felons in Trumbull County. The initiative was comprised for four components, which included increased traffic patrols, criminal patrols, aggressive OVI enforcement and warrant service.
The Shield program has been run by the patrol for two years and it comes to communities that have a high rate of felony, DUI and drug arrests, Holt said last week. Planning began in January.
Patrol Sgt. William R. Bancroft, assistant commander at the Warren post, said law enforcement has conducted many OVI checkpoints, but nothing of this magnitude before in Trumbull County.
He said officers participated in several foot pursuits on Friday.
"There was a lot of positive response from the public, especially when they were looking at the helicopter on Saturday," he said. "I think overall, people were pleased with what was going on. They were waving at the helicopter and everything."
He said it hasn't been determined yet when, or if, another saturation effort with take place.
"Obviously we don't want to over saturate," he said. "I think it would be on as-needed basis. When you do something of this magnitude, initially you learn things, and there are a lot of things to learn for next time.
''But overall I'd say it was pretty successful. I think it was something that was needed and that people appreciated,'' Bancroft said.