Delaware County Sheriff Russell Martin has set three goals for the sheriff’s office in 2018: to reduce the amount of retail theft in the county by 20 percent, improve roadway safety, and reduce overdoses and overdose deaths in the county.
Martin said theft reports increased by 15 percent in 2017 and attributed much of that increase to Tanger Outlets. Martin said that in 2017, three deputies became certified bike officers and they have been useful in areas like Tanger where a deputy in a cruiser would not be as efficient.
However, Martin said the sheriff’s office needs help from the retailers.
“This ambitious goal to reduce theft by 20 percent is going to take cooperation with retailers themselves,” Martin said.
Martin said theft and domestic reports were the two most common reports taken by deputies in 2017 and he hopes the completion of the under-construction Turning Point Shelter for victims of domestic violence will help reduce domestic incidents. Martin said domestic calls increased by 12 percent in 2017.
“Domestic violence is not going away,” Martin said. “I’ll continue to beat the drum on [the Turning Point shelter] until we get the shelter in Delaware County because the need is not going away.”
Martin said another goal for 2018 is to improve roadway safety throughout the county.
“That means identify and enforce laws in the high-risk intersections and where we are more prone to have crashes,” Martin said. “It’s not usually typical for a sheriff’s office, but I see it as a quality life issue in this county with the increased traffic.”
Martin said he is working with his staff to develop traffic initiatives and partnering more with the Ohio State Highway Patrol to improve roadway safety.
Another important goal for 2018, according to Martin, is reducing the amount of overdoses and overdose deaths in Delaware County.
“Frankly, one of the things is improving data collection so we can see where [overdoses] are occurring and why they are occurring,” Martin said. “We are going to continue our efforts with the drug task force in going after dealers. We also want to see more education, intervention, and communication with the community.”
Martin said Delaware County deputies began carrying Narcan in 2017 and said it was put to use almost immediately.
“We think we are in the life-saving business,” Martin said.
Last year also saw the full implementation of body cameras for Delaware County sheriff’s deputies. Martin said body cameras aren’t going anywhere because the sheriff’s office has already reached an agreement with retailers for the next upgraded models of body cameras.
“We like to believe that’s added to the ongoing transparency to the office,” Martin said. “It’s provided an internal training tool. We can go back and review the video to make sure officers are safe and adhering to policy.”
Martin said the feedback he’s received from his deputies has been “very positive.”
“It gives them the opportunity to review their own performance,” Martin said. “We are happy with the roll-out of that initiative.”
The sheriff’s office also started the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office Citizens Academy which graduated 22 citizens across two classes in 2017. Martin said the members of the citizen’s academy, which included many Delaware County township trustees, were able to ride along with deputies and learn about procedure and law among many other things.
“I think it lends itself to transparency because they get the chance to see what we really do and ask tough questions,” Martin said. “I think it is another form of outreach to our community.”
“We’ve got great support in this community,” Martin said. “Frankly, I’ve had more positive feedback from residents in the last year than I have in the last five years.”
Contact Glenn Battishill at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.