Friday, 15 June 2012 07:09

AUDIO SLIDESHOW 3,500 Flags Retired

First responders, military personnel, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and others marked Flag Day with a formal flag retirement ceremony in Green.  The flags gathered over the last 12 months were tattered, torn, faded or otherwise no longer fit to fly. 

The preferred method of retiring a flag is by burning it, but there is protocol to follow.

Summit County Sheriff Drew Alexander says the first year attracted about 1,500 flags and it's grown ever since.

"I think that shows a lot for at least our community, the pride they have in the flag and that they respect the flag," said Alexander.

Following music, prayer and brief speeches, the flag flown over the training academy, which had been there 24 hours, was removed, folded and became the first flag to be burned.  People then took flags from tables and handed them, usually one at at time, those designated to actually place the flags over fire.  

A new flag was hoisted up the pole to fly over the training center. 

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In an effort to keep the roadways safe, law enforcement officials will be out in full force looking for impaired drivers this Memorial Day weekend.

Summit County Sheriff Drew Alexander says extra patrols will be out this weekend.

"There will be added enforcement out and if you are drinking and driving, you probably will be stopped," says Alexander.

Summit County Sheriff Drew Alexander by Akron NewsNow

Various agencies including the Sheriff's Department will have a visible presence on the roads for the weekend leading up to Memorial Day, which is statistically one of the biggest times for OVI arrests both locally and nationally.

Lt. William Weirtz of the Ohio State Highway Patrol says the more troopers will be out and about enforcing traffic laws as well.

"Starting Friday morning, we'll have additional units on the road which will give us an extra four to six units on the roadways," Weirtz explained.

Lieutenant William Weirtz of the Ohio State Highway Patrol by Akron NewsNow

That message should resonate with people who plan on having a couple drinks during the holiday weekend.

"We want people to be aware that we will be out enforcing the traffic laws here in Summit County," Sheriff Drew Alexander said.

Alexander explains his deputies have been trained to look for certain signs that could indicate a person could be impaired while driving.

"We train our deputies to look for obvious signs such as driving erratically, weaving in and out of traffic, road rage, and other signs," he explained.

"If they see people driving in this manner, they will be pulled over and officers will see what the problem is."

Lieutenant Weirtz says OVI arrests spike during holiday weekends, so troopers will look for impaired drivers during all hours of the day.

Statistics show OVI-related crashes resulted in 401 deaths in 2011.

Both Alexander and Weirtz say that if you are planning to drink this holiday weekend, designate a sober driver, or call a cab to take you home.  

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Monday, 13 February 2012 11:19

County Jail Locked To Some Mental Patients

Violent mentally ill criminals or suspects are no longer welcome at the Summit County Jail.

That's the word from Summit County Sheriff Drew Alexander, who has been saying for years that the jail is staffed with jailers, not mental health practitioners.  The sheriff says it's not because they don't want to deal with mentally ill patients - they aren't trained or equipped to do the job.

The new policy doesn't include all prisoners with mental issues, just those who show signs of violence when they're being booked.

"We bring in somebody who is severely mentally ill and then we put them in four-point restraints and put them into a cell by themselves," said Alexander.  "It's barbaric.  It's 13th century mentality."

Alexander says prisoners who fit into the category will be forced into mental health facilities where they can get treatment.

There have been problems at the Summit County Jail, namely the case of Mark McCullaugh, Jr., who died while in deputies' custody at the jail.  Five deputies were charged criminally, but those charges were eventually dropped.  The sheriff says it's the ultimate example to support his case.

"A person like Mark McCullaugh shouldn't have been in jail," said Alexander. 

Alexander says there are 36 cells in the mental health pod at the jail.  He says there are 130 prisoners using psychotropic drugs.

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Another round of concessions agreed to by members of the Fraternal Order of Police covering Summit County deputy sheriff's, with an eye toward keeping 15 of their fellow officers on the job.

The FOP said in a news release the concessions, worth over $350,000, will keep current staffing levels as is. The concessions were approved by "an overwhelming margin," according to the FOP.

In a seperate news release, Summit County Sheriff  Drew Alexander listed the concessions as primarily choices deputies make regarding clothing allowances and said it would keep six deputies on the job.

 News release - Fraternal Order of Police

 Deputies of the Summit County Sheriff’s Office agreed yesterday to give back over $350,000 to their employer in order to prevent the layoff of 15 deputies, thereby maintaining the current level of law enforcement services provided by the Sheriff’s Office.  The Deputies approved these givebacks by an overwhelming margin.

“This falls right in line with what FOP members have been doing all across this state to keep the doors open in law enforcement agencies.  Public employees have given over one billion dollars in contractual concessions since 2008” said Jay McDonald, Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio President.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the deputies.  They recognized the economic condition of Summit County, caused partially by the cuts in local government funds by Governor Kasich’s Budget, and acted in the best interest of the community that they serve” said Otto Holm, the Fraternal Order of Police / Ohio Labor Council Representative. 

News release - Summit County Sheriff Drew Alexander

On Wednesday 11/2/2011, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office Deputies approved concessions to save the agency more than $350,000. The vote was passed by a 65% margin. These savings enabled the agency to avoid laying off up to 6 deputies in 2012.

The deputies will be able to choose one of three concession options. They may forgo their clothing allowance in 2012, forgo half of their clothing allowance in 2012 and take 3 cost savings days, or take 5 cost savings days.

The Sheriff’s Office Administration and the Deputies’ Bargaining Unit have worked very diligently together over the past few months to come up with the proposed concession options. The Sheriff’s Office’s budget was originally cut by 10%, which translated into approximately 1 million dollars. By not replacing departing employees and creatively trimming the budget, the million dollars in cuts needed to balance the budget was reduced to nearly $350,000. The concessions made by the deputies will save the agency the remaining amount.  

News ReleaseOn Wednesday 11/2/2011, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office Deputies approved concessions to save the agency more than $350,000. The vote was passed by a 65% margin. These savings enabled the agency to avoid laying off up to 6 deputies in 2012.

The deputies will be able to choose one of three concession options. They may forgo their clothing allowance in 2012, forgo half of their clothing allowance in 2012 and take 3 cost savings days, or take 5 cost savings days.

The Sheriff’s Office Administration and the Deputies’ Bargaining Unit have worked very diligently together over the past few months to come up with the proposed concession options. The Sheriff’s Office’s budget was originally cut by 10%, which translated into approximately 1 million dollars. By not replacing departing employees and creatively trimming the budget, the million dollars in cuts needed to balance the budget was reduced to nearly $350,000. The concessions made by the deputies will save the agency the remaining amount.  

News Release - Summit County Sheriff Drew Alexander

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A controversial gun law goes into effect in Ohio today.

Anyone who has a permit to legally carry a concealed weapon can bring the gun into bars and restaurants where alcohol is served.

Sheriff Drew Alexander says he believes those who carry a concealed weapon need more training time.

"My deputies take 80 hours of training before they're authorized to carry a weapon and a civilian going through 12 hours doesn't get any of what they should be getting," says Alexander.

Alexander says they will be offering a home safety class to family members who will be around guns...

"Spouses or people in the house really don't know how to handle a weapon and now they may have a weapon in the house because of the CCW laws," says Alexander.

Businesses may post a sign banning guns and those who carry gun into establishments are not allowed to drink alcohol.

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Friday, 09 September 2011 09:37

Post 9-11 Vigilance Still Needed

Most law enforcement, security experts, government planners and others agree that the nation is better prepared to prevent terrorism than we were ten years ago.  Memories, however, tend to fade over time and that's why Summit County Sheriff Drew Alexander is reminding people that the fight is not over.

Alexander says that in the first days, weeks and months following the events of September 11, 2001, his office received tips regularly of suspicious people or activities.  While none of the calls he received amounted to terrorist activities, they sometimes resulted in arrests on outstanding warrants or other matters.

"We've kind of gotten back to being a little lax," said Alexander.  "We're not as vigilant as we were right after that.  Maybe we need to kick-start it again and get people to start thinking about these things."

Alexander says his office continues to offer citizen training events that were started because of the terrorist attacks.

 

 

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