By Linda Collins
Fairborn Daily Herald
ENON — The Enon Police Department has officially signed on with the Clark County Vice and Organized Crime Task Force and will be conducting joint investigations with other Clark County agencies and the Miami County Sheriff’s Office.
The Enon Village Council unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding between the Village of Enon, the Enon Police Department and the Clark County Vice and Organized Crime Task Force during the Tuesday, Oct. 11 council meeting. Enon Mayor Tim Howard said it would be effective immediately upon the signing of the document by village officials.
Enon Police Chief Lewis Wilcox told Howard and village council members during his report to council that the Clark County Sheriff’s Office had asked the village police department to join the recently-established task force. According to Wilcox, the South Charleston Police Department and the Miami County Sheriff’s Office would also be signing on with the unit, and the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office would be involved as well.
“We have been working with the sheriff’s office on this concept since the first of the year, and we now have all the details finalized,” Wilcox said.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office would assign one police sergeant who would serve as task force commander and two detectives who would act as task force officers. The task force would also operate out of the sheriff’s substation in Moorefield Township.
“We would assign one officer from the village to assist the unit on a part-time basis as needed. The officer would work on this detail between 15 to 20 hours a week, based on his or her availability, in lieu of patrolling,” Wilcox said. “At no time would the village be left without an officer on duty because of this assignment.”
Wilcox said South Charleston Police Department would assign one officer to the task force, and the Miami County Sheriff’s Office would allocate deputies to the task force when any investigation crosses the county line into Miami County. The Clark County Prosecutor’s Office would also designate one assistant prosecuting attorney to assist the task force and handle prosecutions resulting from the task force’s investigations.
Should any prosecutions take place in Miami County, the Clark County Prosecutor would attain consent from the Miami County Prosecutor’s Office to prosecute the offender/s in Clark County or seek to have a Clark County prosecuting attorney sworn in as a special Miami County assistant prosecuting attorney.
According to Wilcox, joining the task force will provide a better opportunity for the local police department to attack the drug problem in the county.
“Each officer assigned to the task force will receive annual training regarding narcotics investigations, which will be valuable,” said Wilcox. “Also, if there are any funds resulting from forfeitures, the village police department could receive as much as 20 percent of those funds.”
Councilman Rick Hanna said he strongly believed that the village police department would greatly benefit by participating in a countywide vice and organized crime task force. However, Councilman Stephen Trout expressed concerns about the annual operational costs to maintain the task force and the village’s contribution toward those expenses.
“I would like to know just how much this will cost the village,” Trout said.
Mayor Howard noted that, if successful, the task force could bring about a well-coordinated and collaborative relationship among law enforcement agencies in the county.
“I believe that this task force will offer our village officers a lot of experience, and the sharing of information among area law enforcement will prove to be very beneficial,” said Howard.