YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — City officials announced on Friday a round of saturation patrols this summer in high crime areas with help from several other police agencies.
Police Chief Carl Davis said at a press conference early this afternoon at the Police Department that the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio State Highway Patrol and the FBI will assist with both manpower and intelligence.
Dubbed the “Impact Initiative,” Davis said the patrols will be in areas of the city that have high rates of gun and drug crime. He would not be more specific.
However, of the city’s 35 shootings so far this year, 25, including five of the city’s seven homicides, have been on the South Side.
Last year the city and other law enforcement agencies ran similar patrols. Lt. Gerard Slattery said in 11 special patrols in 2021, authorities seized 21 guns as well as quantities of marijuana, heroin, fentanyl, powder cocaine and crack cocaine.
Slattery said the patrols conducted 550 traffic stops and out of those stops, 54 people were given citations or arrested. The remainder were given warnings.
Slattery stressed that officers on the patrol will not be nitpicking.
“We’re looking for guns and drugs,” Slattery said. “We’re not after John Q. Public who is obeying the law but forgets to use his turn signal. You might get pulled over, but if you’re straight, we’ll give you a break.”
Davis said he did not know how a change in the state’s concealed carry law that takes affect June 13 will impact on the patrols or police operations in general. Under the change, people 21 and over no longer have to have a permit to carry a handgun, although they must still pass a background check.
Davis said the department is in consultations with prosecutors at the city and county level to determine how police should handle those cases moving forward.
“When the law was first amended, we knew we would be treading on some uncharted territory,” Davis said.
Davis said patrols will be unannounced and the program has no set end date.
Last year the city 139 people shot, including all 31 homicide victims. There were 42 total shootings at this time last year, 11 of them fatal.