The Ohio House passed legislation eliminating provisions of current law that prohibit a township constable from making an arrest on a highway that is part of the national highway system, with the exception of an interstate highway.

House Bill 378, sponsored by State Representatives Stephen Hambley (R-Brunswick) and  Jeffery Rezabek (R-Clayton), was passed in an effort to allow small townships the same jurisdictional rights as large townships on state highways that are included in the national highway system.

“Our bill will go a long way in empowering township officers to arrest drunk drivers and fight drug and human trafficking in Ohio,” commented Hambley. “Townships comprise 35 percent of Ohio’s population and encompass numerous miles of state and U.S. highways. Passing House Bill 378 is another step toward protecting our families and children and stopping these callous criminals.”

Currently, a township officer has arrest authority with regard to vehicle-related offenses on state highways or U.S. highways if the population served is greater than 50,000 people. The Ohio State Highway Patrol and county sheriffs generally have exclusive jurisdiction to those offenses committed on state highways outside of municipal corporations.

House Bill 378 eliminates the population-based restriction, granting township police officers that serve in a township with 50,000 people or less to make an arrest on state and U.S. highways. House Bill 378 does not grant the power to arrest on interstates to township officers serving a population of less than 50,000.

“House Bill 378 allows township officers to do their job more effectively,” Rep. Rezabek stated. “I was proud to join Representative Hambley in this effort and I look forward to this bill moving forward in the process through the Senate.”

House Bill 378 now goes to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

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