The Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force was recognized by the Ohio Senate and Ohio House of Representatives during a ceremony at the Ohio Statehouse held Dec. 6. The task force is a collaborative effort between multiple law enforcement agencies and the US Marshals Service to target offenders who have committed violent or drug-related felonies. It has made more than 40,000 arrests since its inception in 2003, and state lawmakers honored the achievement.
Members of the of the task force were on hand for the ceremony, including Lt. Marc Rodriguez of the Galion Police Department. He has been an active participant in the Richland County Division of the task force since it was formed in 2009, and is currently the only law enforcement officer in Crawford County involved.
“Crime is not static and criminals travel across multiple jurisdictions,” Rodriguez said. “The task force gives us the ability to network with other agencies, share manpower, and be more efficient overall. We save taxpayer dollars by sharing our resources.”
The Richland County Division is one of eight in the northern Ohio territory and serves Ashland, Crawford, Huron, and Richland counties. It consists of the following agencies: Ashland County Sheriff’s Office, Ashland Police Department, Galion Police Department, Lexington Village Police Department, Loudonville Police Department, Mansfield Police Department, Ohio Adult Parole Authority, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Ontario Police Department, Plymouth Village Police Department, Richland County Adult Probation, Richland County Sheriff’s Office, and Shelby Police Department.
Through the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force, the partnering agencies also get access to special training, equipment, and Federal resources. It often works with the METRICH Drug Enforcement Unit for drug cases.
The Richland County Division of the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force is currently pursuing over 30 fugitives. The most wanted fugitives are posted in the lobby of the Galion Police Department and online. People with tips or information may contact Lt. Rodriguez by calling the police department at 419-468-9111. Caller identity will remain anonymous and cash rewards are offered in some cases. The Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force’s 24-hour tip line is 1-866-4WANTED.