More user friendly tip line a plus for patrol

A drug tip hotline run by the Ohio State Highway Patrol is growing into a true success story.

The patrol says its increased efforts to crack down on drug trafficking and other crimes are paying off with more calls to its revamped hotline. That means an alert public, more than ever, is helping law enforcement catch criminals on Ohio’s roadways.

The state launched an easier-to-dial hotline, (hash)677, to replace the old 1-877-7-PATROL about a year ago. It encourages travelers to call not only when they need help or see an impaired driver, but also to report tips on crimes such as drug activity and human trafficking.

More than 4,000 calls per month are being logged statewide.

Recognizing the growth in drug tips, the state’s criminal intelligence unit has grown from two analyst positions to eight, and requests for its service more than doubled.

Publicity about the new hotline number and successful cases have prompted more tips to local patrol posts or the hotline advertised on trooper vehicles and blue roadside signs. In fact, dozens more signs about the tip line are going up around Ohio. Areas of high drug activity are getting extra signage.

That’s good news to anyone from the Mid-Ohio Valley who travels Interstate 77 (a main avenue for north-south trafficking) or I-70 to Columbus (a major artery for east-west trafficking).

Police can’t be everywhere. The public can report what officials don’t see. The Patrol’s tip line’s signs help drive home the point to drug traffickers – people are watching and the patrol will be following up.

We applaud the efforts of the patrol for not being satisfied with the hotline’s results and for making it easier for the public to use it.

Keep up the good work.