The enhanced patrol residents witnessed recently will be more routine in the future as Rittman police stepped up their game by saturating areas of known drug activity with an assist from other law enforcement agencies.
Rittman Sgt. David Miller said the effort was a successful one. There will likely be three felony charges arising from the saturated enforcement on Wednesday. State Highway Patrol Troopers, Medway agents and Wayne County Sheriff’s Office deputies joined Rittman police officers to canvass and surveil the problem areas. The law enforcement agencies also joined with Orrville officers for the same kind of targeted patrols.
Three were arrested Wednesday for what is believed to be a drug deal in First Street Park. Police officers were conducting surveillance and saw a transaction take place, Rittman Police Chief Ray Arcuri said. Following the arrests of two Rittman men and a woman, police checked video footage from recently installed security cameras in the park.
Fred Kinder, 43, was arrested for allegedly trafficking in heroin. Kinder was arrested in December for allegedly stealing five vehicles. A man who looks like Kinder was seen on security footage from an area gas station/convenience store. At the time, Arcuri was part of the interviewing team where Kinder allegedly confessed to stealing them.
Kinder also has a pretrial conference coming up Thursday for charges of aggravated trafficking in of drugs, possession of heroin, possession of drugs and tampering with evidence, along with the charges for theft of the vehicles. The drug charges date back to August and September.
Arcuri said a 48-year-old Rittman man, who fled the scene and was arrested later, admitted to meeting up in the park to buy the drugs. A woman was also arrested for purchasing a substance suspected to be heroin, but she has not been charged at this time.
“We are taking extra efforts to stomp out criminal activity and drug trafficking in Rittman,” Miller said. “The interdiction patrols were successful. … Saturated criminal patrols will be happening periodically from now on.”
“Saturation patrols, such as this, can be an effective way to detect illegal activity,” Capt. Doug Hunter of the Sheriff’s Office said. “A few officers from various agencies will allow a greater impact to be felt within the community. … Traffic stops for seemingly minor infractions often times lead to the discovery of much more serious crimes.”
“Collaboration is key to any initiative we do in law enforcement,” said Lt. Stephanie Norman, commander of the Wooster Post of the State Highway Patrol. Troopers from the Wooster Post and the Criminal Patrol Division provided support. “We appreciate the chiefs allow us to come in their areas” and help address the problem. “It was a good opportunity to get to know the officers and open our eyes to problem areas in the county.”
The security cameras in First Street Park were installed about two weeks ago through money provided by the Rittman Rotary Club, President Jere Dutt said. The club’s members started to clean up the park about a year ago, wanting to give back. They heard a bunch of drug needles were found there, and they wanted to do something more.
The Rittman Rotary Club purchased a swing for those with handicaps to use, put in a bench and added other things to improve the park. The goal is to make First Street Park a destination spot for Rittman residents and those outside the city, Dutt said.