Drug deaths drop in Ironton: Chief says drug courts helping

Published 7:40 am Saturday, January 11, 2020

The Ironton Police Department has released its statistics for 2019 and the chief is happy to see that the number of drug overdoses are down significantly from the previous year although crime and service calls were up a bit.

“Our decreases were in the drug overdoses, which we are really proud of,” said IPD Chief Pam Wagner.

In 2019, Ironton had 17 reported overdoses, with two of those resulting in death. That is down by nearly two-thirds over 2018, when the city had 60 reported overdoses with six fatalities.

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Wagner said the decrease in overdoses was a great sign.

“We have been working very closely with (Ironton Municipal Court Judge Kevin Waldo’s) drug court and the rehab centers trying to get the word out,” she said. “So, I think that is reflected in those numbers. We just can’t say enough good things about Judge Waldo’s drug court and the information we can get to people. And ,although we don’t work with them as much, (Lawrence County Common Pleas Court) Judge Andy Ballard’s drug court is really good too.”

Wagner said arrests of major drug cases were up, specifically cases where major drug traffickers were targeted with controlled buys by the drug task force.

“We had 24 of those, while the previous year it was 16,” she said. “Counting those and the road patrol arrests, we had 92 arrests on drug charges, which is about the same as last year, when we had 91.”

Currently, the drug unit has a 100 percent success rate in their cases getting a plea or conviction when the case is heard in court.

In 2019, the Ironton Police Department answered 10,026 service calls, up 158 over 2018.

Wagner said another area of success has been the road patrol units visibly increasing traffic enforcement.

In 2018, road patrol dealt with 750 incident reports and 247 crashes. In 2019, the numbers dropped to 638 incidents and 233 crashes. 541 people were cited or arrested for traffic violations.

She said part of the reason the crashes were down six percent was that, last year, Ironton City Council passed an ordinance that no longer allowed people to park boats, trailers and campers on city streets.

“Now, people can see at intersections,” she said. “It has really helped our crash numbers.

In all, Ironton PD made 977 arrests, up 37 from 2018.

“We are going to continue moving forward,” Wagner said. “We are glad there is some improvement in our drug activity statistics with our enforcement. However, that is a never-ending battle.”

The Ironton Police Department does have a tip line, 740-532-5606, to call and leave information.

“We thank the public for their tips,” she said. “Calls can be anonymous. A lot of our drug arrests come from tips. The citizens themselves are to be commended for giving us information.”