Law enforcement is turning their attention to a common household product at hardware stores that has become a popular item used to manufacture meth. Lye-based drain cleaners are flying off the shelves.
Summit County Sheriff Drew Alexander says they are in the early stages of looking into a possible county ordinance requiring lye product buyers to show ID.
"Make it harder on (the customers abusing the product) and then, possibly, they will go elsewhere. And then those communities will make it harder on them," Alexander said.
Alexander says he will be contacting local and national hardware stores to try and convince them of the need to combat the problem.
Sheriff: Hardware Stores Need To ID Customers by Amani Abraham
Summit County is leading in the state's 88 counties in meth lab busts this year, according to the Summit County Sheriff's Department.
Dale Marvin, manager at Ace Hardware in Hudson, says he tells his employees to look out for customers who purchase a suspicious amount of the lye-based drain cleaners.
"The employees are aware that if somebody comes in and tries buys a large quantity , they notify the managers," Marvin said.
Richard Tschantz, manager of West Hill Hardware on West Market Street, says his supplier doesn't offer many lye-based drain cleaners.
"A lot of it is due to the fact that it was being abused by people making illicit drugs, " said Tschantz.
Dustin Baker with Hoffman's ACE Hardware in Akron, says they now ask for a photo ID when customers purchase the lye-based drain cleaners.
"In the last couple of years, we've been checking (ID's) based upon the recent trends we've seen with purchases."
Recent events around the country and here in Northeast Ohio have left people wondering: "How can I protect myself?" Many in Summit County are turning to conceal carry permits and the proof is in the numbers.
NewsChannel 5 reports that In the entire year of 2011, a total of 1,252 people were issued a CCW (concealed carry weapon) permit. This year, that number is already up to 1,168. This month alone 93 people have already applied for their CCW.
Summit County Sheriff Drew Alexander expressed his concerns about the 40% jump in CCW holders in Summit County.
"I would suggest that they get a lot of training. Just don't rely on the 12 hours by law is required to get your CCW" Alexander tells AkronNewsNow.
Alexander attributes the increase in conceal carry permits to recent violent events.
"People don't feel safe. The shootings in Colorado, Wisconsin, the suspected shooter in the Cleveland area. It seems like there increasing instead of decreasing" says Alexander.
To get your CCW you need to have 10 hours of classroom training and 2 hours of range training.
It's been legal to carry a concealed weapon with a permit since 2004; since then more than 12,000 CCW permits have been issued.
Remember a few weeks ago when morning rush hour traffic was at a standstill as President Obama left from an overnight stay in Fairlawn and ate breakfast at a west Akron restaurant?
Get ready for the same traffic nightmare, only this time on the way home from work this afternoon.
The President will make a campaign speech at the Knight Center in downtown Akron, scheduled for 4pm, right in the middle of the rush hour commute home.
It all starts at Akron-Canton Airport between 3 p.m. and 3:30pm, on I-77 northbound. The Summit County Sheriff's Department will be involved with blocking off traffic and providing security on bridges and overpasses at the President's motorcade rolls toward Akron.
The President will be arriving from an earlier campaign event in Mansfield.
Sheriff Drew Alexander is a veteran of these visits and he says it's not a pleasant experience stopping traffic on a major interstate.
"It's a big problem and obviously it's inconvenient, but its something that has to be done, and we understand that. We take our lead from the Secret Service on that. They basically tell us what the route is going to be," says Alexander.
Alexander says they'll utilize what's called a rolling roadblock to escort Obama's motorcade from and to the airport. " We'll keep our cars jumping ahead one at a time, so that we always have several roadways blocked, but as the presidential entourage goes through then we open that back up. We just don't let traffic catch up to the caravan."
Alexander says for just one afternoon, roughly between 3 and 7, motorists who normally take I-77 north and southbound should map another route to get home.
"Take an alternate route. We're not sure the hour or the amount of time we're going to have to shut these down, or what time we're going to shut them down. I would suggest that if you don't have to come into the city, don't. And if you can stay off I-77 I'd certainly advise that," says Alexander.
Alexander tells AkronNewsNow.com there are alternate north-south routes you can choose. "There's a lot of north-south, Arlington, Massillon Road, Canton Road, a lot of ways to get in and out, and avoid 77."
Above all, Alexander says to exercise patience and plan for your afternoon commute to be longer than usual.
President Obama's visit is also altering other plans in downtown Akron. Several streets around the Knight Center will be closed off.
The Akron Summit County Public Library has postponed at least one event this afternoon because of the Obama rall .
METRO RTA also advising other routes and service may be impacted adversely because of the afternoon rush hour arrival, appearance and departure. Metro officials say the exact times, specific street closures and planned detours during the visit and for the president’s motorcade won't be made public for security reasons. If you are a Metro rider and need more information on how the President's visit will alter bus routes, you can call the customer services line at 330-762-0341.
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A Summit County Sheriff's Deputy is on paid leave pending the results of an internal investigation into his conduct on the job.
Summit County Sheriff Drew Alexander confirms that deputy Dominic Martucci is the subject of an internal investigation.
Martucci is being investigated for possible violations of policies and procedures on the job at the Summit County Jail.
In 2006 Martucci and other deputies faced criminal charges in the death of inmate Mark McCullough. Charges against Martucci and three other deputies were dismissed after another deputy was acquitted on a charge of murder.
While declining further comment on the investigation Alexander tells AkronNewsNow the investigation could be wrapped up in the next week or two.
Dominic Martucci is the son of retired Akron Police detective Frank Martucci who ran unsuccessfully for Summit County Sheriff, losing to former deputy Steve Barry in the March Democratic Primary.
Summit County Sheriff Drew Alexander is heading to Columbus to join a panel discussion about the mental health system this Friday.
Alexander gained attention this year after he announced the county jail would no longer accept violent mentally ill individuals .
A study done by the National Institute of Corrections, an agency within the U.S. Department of Justice, influenced his decision.
"They came in and looked at our situation and one of the things they advised us to do was to stop taking in the severely mentally ill," Alexander said. "The liabilities factors go through the roof."
Alexander said plans need to be put in place in order to take care of individuals with mental health issues who show violent tendencies.
"We have to come up with a plan for them. We have to do something with these folks. We just can't take them back to the streets and release them," Alexander said.
The event titled "The Great Mental Health Debate: Acknowledging the Elephants in the Room" will be hosted by the National Alliance of Mental Illness of Ohio.
Summit County sheriff Drew Alexander has announced that he won't be running for a fourth term.
He has been Summit County's top law enforcer since 2001.
Alexander says that there's one reason he's declining to run for another term.
"I'm getting old," Alexander tells AkronNewsNow.com. "At the end of this term I'll be 67. I've been law enforcement for 40 years, with my term with Akron PD and the last 12 with the sheriff's office."
Sheriff Drew Alexander with ANN's Mike Ward by Akron NewsNow
Alexander praised the employees of the sheriff's department, and lists a few things he'd consider to be some of his accomplishments in office.
"Juvenile diversion, shut-ins programs," Alexander notes. "We've reduced the jail overpopulation problem, five years ago we corrected that and it's still corrected."
He's endorsing his long-time former chief deputy, Garry Moneypenny, to succeed him. Moneypenny is currently serving on Akron City Council.
"He's got great qualifications, great education in this field. I really think Garry is the best one to come in and carry on the programs that we've started."
Alexander says that he thinks the sheriff's position should be a non-partisan office.
"I don't know how you could really be a true law enforcement officer if you have to be political, too," he tells AkronNewsNow.com.
Alexander says he'll serve out his current term, which expires in January 2013.
Earlier this week, 38-year old Casey Stack of Coventry presented his side of the story on what led him to spend the weekend in the Summit County Jail. He accused Sheriff's Deputies of improperly using a Taser stun device on him when he actually was suffering from an epileptic seizure. He also claims he did not receive medical treatment when booked into the Summit County Jail.
Sheriff Drew Alexander is firing back, but with a letter to the media instead of a Taser.
Alexander says Stack drew the attention of deputies when he first intentionally ran his car into another vehicle. Alexander defends the actions of his deputies, noting Stack's dilated pupils could also have been the result of being under the influence of an illegal drug.
Alexander notes Stack refused, in writing, medical attention when transported to the Jail by the Coventry Fire Department, and also received routine medical evaluation during the intake process when booked at the Summit County Jail, where the Sheriff says Stack was given the proper medical treatment according to standard jail operating procedure.
Letter from Alexander to area media outlets:
September 1, 2011
I would like to take a moment to address a recent article published in the Akron Beacon Journal: "Defendant Says Deputies Didn't Recognize Seizure." Their article contains numerous statements from the defendant, Casey Stack. However, his statements are not consistent with the facts documented by our agency. Unfortunately, all of the facts of this incident were not included in the article.
The Summit County deputies became involved only because of Mr. Stack's decision to intentionally crash into another vehicle. The Akron Beacon Journal's assessment is shortsighted, questioning the professionalism of our deputies by insulting their dedication and commitment to preserving the peace. Their failure to get all of the facts prior to the publication of this story could be perceived as an intentional attempt to damage the integrity of the Summit County Sheriff's Office.
I hope that this is not the case and I would welcome the chance to discuss all of the facts with them so that they may print the whole story.
Mr. Stack states he feels that the deputies should have recognized the seizure he claims that he suffered that day. Our deputies do receive CPR/First Aid training which includes training on identifying individuals in different types of medical distress. The fact that Mr. Stack states his pupils were dilated could also have been an indication that he was under the influence of some type of illegal drug.
Mr. Stack claims that his medical condition was ignored at the jail and he did not receive his medication for more than a day. The Coventry Fire Department responded to the incident scene but Mr. Stack refused medical treatment in writing. He was then transported to the Summit County Jail where he received routine medical screening during the booking process, consistent with jail policy. Our jail medical staff ensured that Mr. Stack was given his proper medication in a timely manner consistent with jail policy.
The deputies involved had to make split second decisions based on immediate information at hand during this rapidly evolving situation. I feel that, based on the facts obtained regarding this incident, our deputies assessed the situation, and acted reasonably and objectively to Mr. Stack's actions.
Sheriff Drew Alexander
County of Summit
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