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Belmont County’s Sheriff Office Initiates A Law Enforcement Exploring Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: 09/25/2020
Contact: Sheriff David M. Lucas
Phone: 740/695-7933
Email: dlucas@belmontsheriff.com

Belmont County Sheriff David M. Lucas announced the implementation of a Law Enforcement Exploring Program in collaboration with the Ohio River Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America (“BSA”). The Sheriff’s Office will hold an Open House and Recruiting Event on October 6 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Sheriff’s Office substation located on the back side of the Ohio Valley Mall. Appropriate health precautions and social distancing will be in place. Law Enforcement Exploring Programs (“Explorers”) are a nationally recognized, hands-on program open to Belmont County young men and women who have completed the eighth grade and are at least 14 years old and under the age of 21 years, and have an interest in law enforcement or the criminal justice system. The program is designed to promote personal growth, character development, respect for the rule of law, physical fitness, good citizenship, patriotism, and interpersonal communication skills. These attributes are developed through training, practical experiences, mentoring, competition, and other activities.

“This is an excellent opportunity for Belmont County youth who meet the criteria and are admitted to the Explorer program to gain in-depth training, mentoring and hands-on experience in law enforcement and the criminal justice system while providing a meaningful service to this Office and Belmont County”, stated Sheriff Lucas. “The Explorer Program has been a goal of mine for quite some time and it is exciting to see it come to fruition”, according to Lucas. The Open House and Recruiting Event on October 6 will give interested youth and their parents an opportunity to learn more about what the Explorer Program has to offer. The program has submitted the documentation to become a recognized Post and has been assigned the Post number of 0007. A command structure for the program and the Post Committee has been put in place and includes Sheriff Lucas, Chief Deputy James Zusack, Lt. Glenn Moore, Assistant Jail Administrator Stanley Galownia, and Outreach Coordinators Sherri VanTassel and Taylore Frasnelly. Lucas noted that other Belmont County Sheriff’s Office (“BCSO”) staff will be assigned as needed for specific duties such as training or experiential learning.

Belmont County young men and women who are within the age range noted are invited to attend the Open House and Recruiting Event on October 6 from 5 – 8 p.m. to learn more about the program and training academy, and to meet representatives of various Divisions of BCSO. Interested youth can also go to the BSCO website, download and print an Explorer Application. Once completed, the application needs to be submitted to BCSO for review. Chosen applicants will be interviewed either via telephone during the need for COVID 19 precautions or in person as changes in restrictions permit. Applicants, in addition to the age restrictions, must also maintain a “C” average in school or complete at least 6 college credits per semester, and commit at least eight (8) hours of service to BCSO per month. Applicants will also undergo a background check. BCSO’s Explorer Academy is 7 (seven) weeks, one day a week for four (4) hours. Monthly meetings will also be held.

Sheriff Lucas notes that this has been a team effort, “Chief Zusack and Lt. Moore put the training outline together and aligned it with topics from the Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy (“OPOTA”); the leadership of the BSA’s Ohio River Valley Council has been generous with their time and expertise to ensure the our office has the appropriate training, background checks and structure to support the Explorer Program; and BCSO’s Outreach Coordinators Sherri VanTassel and Taylore Frasnelly have pulled the materials together to support a thriving and successful Explorer Post. This is an exciting opportunity for Belmont County youth interested in careers in law enforcement and the criminal justice system.”

New Office for the Belmont County Sheriff

Most people in law enforcement say they embarked on their careers because they wanted to help people. Ohio Valley Mall is hoping to make that a little easier for them starting Thursday, May 12. Belmont County Sheriff David Lucas will cut the ribbon on a new Sheriff’s Sub-Station at 10:00 AM that day. The new 2,500 square foot office will be located just inside the south entrance to the mall, next to the Belmont County Tourism Office.

Sheriff Lucas said, “Having this conveniently-located sub-station will make our deputies more easily accessible to average citizens. There, they’ll be able to learn more about public safety programs. Having this location provided to us by the Cafaro Company will allow us to work closely with the residents of Belmont County on safety projects and programs. I want to thank Anthony Cafaro Jr. and his staff for all the support they give Belmont County Sheriff’s Office and the residents of Belmont County.”

One such initiative, Project Lifesaver, provides timely response to protect the lives of children and adults suffering with autism or Alzheimer’s disease. Through this program, the Sheriff’s Office is able to provide such individuals with small, reliable tracking devices that allow them to be easily located should they wander from home. Another is the RUOK Program. This is an automated phone program that checks up on elderly, disabled and others living at home. It will alert key holders to any problems.

Lucas has been praised for measures he’s taken to make his department more efficient and to save tax dollars. Ohio Valley Mall is providing space for the new sub-station at no cost.

“We’ve always had a great relationship with the Sheriff and his deputies” said Anthony Cafaro, Jr., Co-President of Ohio Valley Mall’s parent company. “We hope this new office space makes their jobs a little easier and provides a convenient service for our regular customers.”

The recently renovated Ohio Valley Mall is located on I-70, Exit 218-Mall Road, in St. Clairsville, Ohio. For more information call 740-695-4526 or explore online at www.ohiovalleymall.net. Ohio Valley Mall is owned and managed in association with Cafaro Company affiliated entities, based in Youngstown, Ohio. One of the nation’s largest privately held shopping center developers, the Cafaro organization owns and oversees more than 30 million square feet of commercial real estate in 10 states. Founded by the late William M. Cafaro in the 1940’s, the firm is now in its seventh decade as a family owned and managed business. For more information visit www.cafarocompany.com.

Assistant Coroner Morgan Honored

In Picture: Sheriff David M. Lucas, Asst. Coroner-Jack Morgan, Coroner-Dr. Troy Balgo

In Picture: Sheriff David M. Lucas, Asst. Coroner-Jack Morgan, Coroner-Dr. Troy Balgo

The Belmont County Sheriff’s Office honored Assistant Coroner, Jack Morgan’s retirement on Monday, May 18, 2015. Invited guests and Coroner, Dr. Troy Balgo were present when Sheriff Lucas presented him with a plaque thanking him for his dedication to Belmont County. A lunch was provided for Mr. Morgan and guests.

Vassilaros Presented with Child Advocate of the Year Award

IMG_3583The Belmont County Department of Jobs & Family Services and the Belmont County Board of Commissioners recognize individuals and organizations who are working together to advocate for abused and neglected children in Belmont County. Each year they choose an advocate within our community who has gone out of their way to help these children. This year the Child Advocate of the Year Award was presented to Leslie Vassilaros at the Annual Child Abuse & Neglect Prevention Lunch, held at Undo’s West in St.Clairsville on April 16, 2015. Leslie is the Executive Director of Harmony House Children’s Advocacy Center. Harmony House exists to ensure that no child is further victimized by systems designed to protect her or him. The child well-being is the first priority.

Pictured is Leslie Vassilaros and Belmont County Department of Jobs & Family Services Director Vince Gianangeli.

Special Deputy Joe Krehlik

Special Deputy Joe Krehlik

Joe Krehlik was recently put on as a Special Deputy with the Belmont County Sheriff’s Office. He is a Certified Professional Photographer.

He will be available to take photos of cases that are not being processed by BCI & I. He will be an asset to our organization, bringing his professional photography to us for use in investigations through prosecution.

Drugs, Paraphernalia Recovered after Traffic Stop

A traffic stop in the Morristown area was made successful by K-9 Luke and the assistance of the Ohio State Highway Patrol on Thursday. Drugs and numerous drug-related paraphernalia were recovered and 40-year-old Jamie Cole was charged with driving while under the influence, drug trafficking, as well as possession of cocaine, heroin, and drug abuse instruments.

Read more on the WTOV9 website.

SPII Task Force Nets Quick Arrest in Belmont County

Members of the Belmont County Sheriff’s Office arrested a man facing numerous charges involving child pornography earlier this week. And on Friday morning, Sheriff Dave Lucas said with the help and support of commissioners, many of these kinds of arrests are forthcoming. “Pretty much within a week, we got our first case on hand,” Lucas said.

Read more on the WTOV9 website.

Gatti, Lucey Promoted to Detective Sergeants

Andrea Gatti and Rusty Lucey were promoted to Detective Sergeants on Tuesday, October 14, 2014. This step was taken to bring Detectives Unit up to date and all staff within the unit will be Detective Sergeants.

Drugs Found During Routine Traffic Stop

Blaine 2014During a routine traffic stop on US 40 near Blaine, a large amount of drugs and money was taken off the streets of Belmont County. A Belmont County Patrol Deputy made the stop and upon investigation found the suspect to be on Federal Parole and asked for permission to search the vehicle. Martins Ferry Police Department was contacted and asked to assist with their K-9 unit. When the K-9 unit arrived, the suspect was asked to step out of his vehicle. While the K-9 was walking toward the vehicle, the suspect fled and was apprehended and restrained. The suspect’s vehicle was towed and is awaiting a search warrant. 81 grams of illegal drugs including heroin and cocaine and over $7,000.00 was put into evidence.

Deputy Thorman Promoted to Jail Sergeant

Officers in Belmont County Work Together in ‘Operation Short Shield’

From the WTOV 9 website:

It’s called “Operation Short Shield.” News9’s Kate Davison climbed inside of a cruiser for a special report on how the collaboration between law enforcement agencies brings results.

Shield detail involves numerous agencies coming together for one common cause — to enforce the law –in two separate facets: Criminal patrol and OVI patrol. Last Friday night, Sgt. Jason Greenwood with the Ohio State Highway Patrol let NEWS9 tag along with him. The ride along was nothing less than eventful. The event included more than 24 units and 36 continuous hours of patrol. “We aggressively are looking for criminals, people that are operating vehicles while they’re impaired,” said Lt. James Faunda of the OSHP.

And a focused approach between members of the Belmont County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Martins Ferry Police and the Belmont County Drug Task Force. Its success rests on a combined effort of the agencies. “We all know that we have a problem, from alcohol to drugs and criminal activities,” Belmont County Sherriff Dave Lucas said.

Read the full article…

$20,000 Reward Offered

There is now a reward in place for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual or individuals involved in the murder of a former Powhatan mayor.

On Thursday, family and friends of Brown announced they have started a reward fund through Belmont Savings Bank. Currently, the reward stands at $20,000 and is still growing.

If you have any information on this crime, the Brown family is asking that you contact Detective Ryan Allar at the Belmont County Sheriff’s Department at 740-695-7933.

Read the full story.

Crime Stoppers

The tip line may exclusively be reached at 877-847-7487.

Tips will NOT be accepted through social media, websites or email in order to ensure confidentiality.

The Crime Stoppers of the Upper Ohio Valley website is www.crimestoppersuov.com.

Road Advisory
There are currently no road advisories for Belmont County.
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