Tri-State lawmen team up

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 8, 2003

On the 1980s television show "The Dukes of Hazzard," criminals often escaped from law enforcement by high-tailing across the state or county line.

In reality, those days are long gone. Modern law enforcement agencies fully cooperate during a hot pursuit, so the General Lee wouldn't stand a chance today. But local departments also try to get together once a month to simply compare notes and share information.

After more than 20 years, the Tri-State Law Enforcement Council continues to help police in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia break down the informational barriers often created by our imaginary boundaries.

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"Drunk drivers and other criminals are not limited by state boundaries. So why should the police be?" Lt. Carl Roark, commander of the Ironton Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said.

"(The Council's) dual mission is to coordinate efforts to reduce traffic safety hazards and to share intelligence about criminal activity."

The Council includes nearly all of the nearby sheriffs' offices, highway patrol posts, city and municipality police departments from Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia.

Roark said that the council helps all the agencies operate more effectively and share information about drug dealers, automobile thieves and more.

Sgt. Jacob Kisor of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said that the monthly meetings are an excellent way to keep an open line of communication.

In the most recent meeting, several agencies discussed a growing problem of mobile methamphetamine labs, Kisor said.

"Because we are spread out in three different states, it is difficult to know what is going on in the other states unless we have an agency like this," he said. "Any information shared can help."

Ironton Police Chief Bill Garland said he believes that the council has been a big benefit and that numerous cases over the years, especially those involving drugs, have been helped by this information sharing.

"Sometimes the state lines and borders stop information from passing them," he said. "This is a good way of getting information you normally wouldn't get."

Recently, the Council conducted a public awareness campaign and increased enforcement that began before Christmas and ended after the New Year's holiday.

Designated as Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Enforcement), agencies across the Tri-State stepped up enforcement of DUI, speeding and safety belt/child restraint laws.

A total of 1,514 citations were issued during the enforcement periods. About 236 citations were issued for failure to use safety belts or child restraints. Sixty eight DUI's were issued and none of the agencies reported any fatalities.