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Drug task force gets $112K grant

By BRIAN BOHNERT
STAFF WRITER
The Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Office of Criminal Justice Services will award the METRICH Enforcement Unit more than $100,000 in grant money Monday for the 2014 calendar year.
A check for $112,500 in Edward R. Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program funding will be presented to representatives of the task force at 11 a.m. Monday at the Mansfield Police Department in Mansfield.
Kristen Castle, public information officer for the Office of Criminal Justice Services, said the funds awarded to the task force support continues efforts and operations of interrupting flows of illegal drugs and weapons by paying for things like training, equipment, undercover buys and confidential funds.
“It’s good to hear that our entire task force is financially sound, but we still need the support of the other participating agencies to provide manpower so we can continue our pursuit in preserving the quality of life for the community,” said Det. Chuck Boyer, coordinator with the Seneca County Drug Task Force — METRICH Enforcement Unit.
While the Seneca County unit has had no problems with manpower as of late, receiving assistance from Tiffin Police Department, Fostoria Police Department and Seneca County Sheriff’s Office, Boyer said he is aware of other counties in the area struggling with maintaining personnel for their drug units.
“We have to maintain that because, really, they can provide us with the funds to continue with our operations but you have to have the manpower to actually continue those operations,” he said.
The METRICH Enforcement Unit is a “decentralized task force” serving more than 550,000 residents throughout North Central Ohio in the following counties: Ashland; Crawford; Hancock; Huron; Knox; Marion; Morrow; Richland; Seneca; and Wyandot.
“The task force has been around for so long, it’s encouraging to see they’ve got a process and they’re just continuing to work to keep the community safe and drug-free,” Castle said. “It’s a really great task force and we’re happy to support them.”

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