FREDERICKTOWN — About a dozen people came out on a wet, windy evening for the Ohio Highway Patrol Community Shield training program at Fredericktown High School Monday evening.
Lt. Toby Smith, commander of the patrol post at Mount Gilead, explained that the program was launched in July and is best described as “grassroots community education.” The program is designed to teach people what kinds of things to be aware of that might indicate criminal activity, and how to report what they see. That includes impaired or reckless driving.
Like a Neighborhood Watch program, Community Shield trains the general public to be extra eyes and ears for law enforcement.
Dan Combs of Apple Valley came to the session out of curiosity.
“I’ve seen a lot of things when I travel to Dayton and I have wondered how to report them,” he said.
This is the second program the post has conducted in the area, and it plans to have another in November at Centerburg. Later, Smith said, they hope to have a program in the Howard/Danville area and in Mount Vernon.
Smith said they are also using the programs to spread the word about the agency’s new report hotline number #677, which was rolled out in February.
The patrol, Smith said, has 1,480 uniformed officers cover 88 counties and Community Shield is a way to provide help.
“Not vigilante help, but identifying danger and criminal activity,” Smith said. “When we get calls about incidents our apprehension rate is in the 90th percentile.”
Smith went through video presentations and verbal accounts of things that might indicate drunk or impaired driving, criminal activity, terrorism and human trafficking.
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