Could collaborative policing help put dent in Northeast Ohio car thefts?
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (WOIO) - As car thefts continue to rise throughout Northeast Ohio, there’s hope within the law enforcement community that collaborative policing could help slow the troubling trend.
In fact, one Northeast Ohio police chief suggests the work local agencies are already doing could help solve a number of crimes.
“Safety is of the utmost concern and the only way we can get to that point is with collaboration and communication,” said Robert Butler, the police chief in Independence. “This is probably the first time in my law enforcement career that I’ve seen so much collaboration between the agencies. And we’re not going to stop.”
Independence is one of 33 area agencies that fall under the umbrella of Chagrin Valley Dispatch, a centralized hub broken into three subsections of 11 police departments each.
That means multiple departments are connected or can be connected, on the same radio channels.
“We will often see crimes from another city that may trickle into our city. For example, stolen autos. When someone steals an auto from another city it’s very common for them to enter into another city and steal another car,” said Butler.
He added that by using high-tech cameras capable of reading license plates, officers can be alerted when a stolen car enters their city. And with neighboring agencies able to listen in on police radio conversations, they’re likely to be on alert whether or not the vehicle has entered their own jurisdiction or not.
Fortunately, Independence hasn’t been hit as hard as other communities with stolen vehicles; they’ve seen about two dozen each year recently.
“We have not been hit like some of the surrounding communities. It doesn’t mean we couldn’t be, so we prepare for that. We have additional staffing on the road, we up our communication with area departments,” said Butler. “We talk, we pool our resources and we’re going to work hard to bring those people to justice.”
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