Highland County Sheriff Donnie Barrera on Friday released law enforcement statistics comparing the first quarter of this year to the first quarter of last year — showing substantial increases in drug trafficking investigations, overdose reports and OVI arrests.
The most dramatic increase, according to Barrera, are drug trafficking investigations, up 550 percent from the first quarter of last year. Barrera attributed the numbers to more aggressive policework and an increase in tips, following heightened drug activity in the county.
“We have more people out operating,” Barrera told The Times-Gazette. “There are more investigations going on because we’re doing more traffic stops and getting more calls on drugs.”
Reported overdoses spiked as well, up 286 percent in the first quarter of this year from the same quarter last year, Barrera said.
“Those are the ones we get called in and do reports on,” he said. “Heroin and fentanyl are our biggest contributors.”
Adult OVI arrests are up 344 percent in the county, Barrera said, adding that the increase doesn’t represent more people driving under the influence as much as more deputies on the lookout for impaired drivers.
“We’ve got some pretty aggressive deputies out looking for the OVIs,” he said.
Felony arrests are up 28 percent, and arrests on traffic offenses are up 19 percent, according to Barrera, who attributed the arrests to a three-percent increase in patrol mileage.
“A lot of the felony arrests come out of traffic stops where they find the drugs in the cars,” he said.
Criminal arrests are up six percent, Barrera added.
Barrera said the average population of inmates at the Highland County Justice Center is up 10 percent.
Domestic violence reports are down 21 percent, according to Barrera, but domestic dispute reports are up 280 percent.
Calls for service are down 13 percent, Barrera said, and 911 calls have decreased by 19 percent.
Concealed carry licenses issued are down 35 percent, according to Barrera, and dog complaints are up 17 percent.
In a press release, the sheriff said his office “works diligently through increased patrol; increased law enforcement visibility; improved community contact; additional training; technological advances, including the latest tip411 anonymous tip reporting system; accreditation of the jail, and compliance with The Ohio Collaborative Law Enforcement Agency certification standards to reduce crime. Even with these efforts, certain statistics have increased.”
Barrera added, “As the sheriff of Highland County, Ohio, I am continuously working with the Highland County law enforcement agencies and governmental agencies in our efforts to improve law enforcement throughout the community.”
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.