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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

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 Lake Township police chief Mark Hummer last week said there is a need for a public forum to discuss the issue of jurisdiction on interstate roadways.  He said he plans to invite state legislators, including representatives Steve Arndt and Theresa Gavarone and senator Randy Gardner, as well as Wood County sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn and staff from the Wood County prosecutor’s office to share opinions on House Bill 255.

 If it becomes law, the bill, now before the House Transportation and Public Safety Committee, would give police departments in townships with populations of 5,000 or more the authority to patrol interstates.

 Locally, that would affect Lake and Perrysburg townships, which are crossed by I-280 and I-75 respectively.

 Sheriff Wasylyshyn, as president of the Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association, was the voice of the association’s opposition last year to a similar bill and he said last week the BSSA opposes HB 255.  

During a hearing last year with the bill sponsor, Rep. Steve Hambley, Wasylyshyn said many of the smaller township departments would be leaving their townships to get to the interstates because of the limited access points to the interstates.

 By contrast, sheriff’s deputies “never leave their jurisdiction” when patrolling federal, state or interstate systems, he said.

 The BSSA also is concerned smaller townships would use the patrolling authority primarily as a means to bolster their revenues through drug interdiction and asset forfeiture.

 Perrysburg Township police chief Mark Hetrick last week said his officers have access to I-75 without leaving their jurisdiction.

 “Every jurisdiction in this state has police departments where their officers drive in and out of their jurisdiction daily. Cities and townships are not perfect squared boundaries. The sheriff doesn’t seem concerned about every agency in Wood County driving in and out of their jurisdictions on a daily basis. But he is concerned about townships working the interstates in their jurisdiction,” he said.

 Lake Township officers can access I-280 without leaving the township, chief Hummer said.

 Rep. Arndt is a co-sponsor of HB 255.

   

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