MARTINS FERRY - The police department continues its efforts to combat the encroachment of drugs and drug related crimes.
Police Chief John McFarland, commander of the county's drug task force, noted that five officers have completed training in drug patrol operations and another has been sent to the academy for taser instruction.
In the immediate future, substances such as synthetic marijuana are a concern for the community. The police department is working with the city council toward legislation prohibiting the substance. McFarland pointed out that a state law prohibits synthetic marijuana, but the makers of the drug continually change the ingredients. He said the legislation would have to be wide-ranging enough to cover chemicals with a similar effect. He said the state bureau of criminal investigation tests a variety of products and if one is similar to a controlled substance, it is treated as that controlled substance.
In addition, the department is introducing their new police dog, Ecko, to the city schools during several demonstrations. The students have taken an interest in the dog and have taken up collections toward dog food. Ecko will be patrolling lockers and vehicles.
Heroin ranks among the officers' concerns for future. McFarland noted that two months ago, officers busted a heroin house, the first of its kind in the area, and more heroin turned up as a result of the recent Operation Shield county-wide drug busts.
DeFrank can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org