Earlier this year, local governments from around Ohio had the opportunity to apply for grants through a process that helps communities pay for public safety projects. The Ohio House of Representatives initiated the Local Government Safety Capital Grant program as a way to address the needs of municipalities and counties and help keep their residents safe. Applications were for resources such as purchasing vehicles and equipment used by police, fire or EMS providers.

I was happy to learn recently that the Pike County Sheriff’s Office was among the entities selected to receive grant funding, including its partners at the Piketon and Waverly police departments. This was one of 58 grants statewide to be chosen in the effort to enhance public safety, increase efficiency and reduce costs.

The nearly $276,000 in funds being directed to the Pike County Sheriff’s Office will aid in the purchase of equipment to curb the instance of drug possession and crime. Unfortunately, in recent years our state has had to tackle a variety of drug-related crimes and abuses, and Pike County has been part of that. In 2015, the Pike County Sheriff’s Office and the Waverly Police Department brought 200 drug charges before the judge, according to Pike County Court records.

The prevalence of drugs has led to a host of other related crimes as well, including breaking and entering, robbery and theft. So it is clearly a problem that must be handled in the best way we can, and I am glad additional resources will now be made available.

Having the ability to upgrade outdated vehicles and equipment will be a welcomed tool in staying proactive against drug activity, which can range from prescription pills to meth and heroin. Overcoming the existence and consequences of drugs in our communities will require a multi-pronged attack that includes everyone’s involvement.

The state legislature has taken important steps in recent years that I believe have yielded positive results. With the announcement of Capital Safety Grant funds being provided for Pike County, I am confident that the effort against drug abuse will become even stronger.

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