(Posted Nov. 16, 2017)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
November is the month of gratitude, and Dale McNeal, president of the London Recovery Project (LRP), said he can’t be more thankful for what happened on Nov. 14.
In the parking lot at Coughlin Automotive in London, McNeal received the keys to a 2014 Chevy Malibu. LRP will use the vehicle to transport clients to and from support meetings, doctor’s appointments, and even to their places of employment.
LRP is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization that helps to rebuild the lives of Madison County individuals and families seeking recovery from addiction to drugs and alcoholism.
The vehicle is the latest in a string of purchases made by the office of Madison County Prosecutor Steve Pronai to assist service agencies and law enforcement with drug-related programs and enforcement. Funding for the purchases is the result of a partnership forged last year between the Prosecutor’s Office and the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s interdiction team.
“The team sets up patrols in the county. Three to five troopers cruise the highway and are trained to spot drug couriers,” Pronai explained. “Often, these couriers are busted with (drug) money on them, which is confiscated.”
Through the partnership, a portion of the confiscated money goes to the Prosecutor’s Office to be used for local rehabilitation, prevention, and interdiction efforts.
In addition to the $11,183 spent on the vehicle for LRP, Pronai’s office has used interdiction dollars to:
- purchase tasers and K-9 unit equipment for the Madison County Sheriff’s Office ($10,617);
- purchase a portable X-ray scanner ($42,400) and cover the cost of K-9 training ($790) and interdiction training ($7,124) for the Ohio State Highway Patrol;
- purchase a mobile radio system ($4,493) for the London Police Department;
- purchase an audio recorder ($1,215) and tasers ($7,723) for the West Jefferson Police Department; and
- support the addition of a K-9 unit for the Plain City Police Department ($5,000).
Soon, the Prosecutor’s Office also will purchase computers for the London Police Department, a vehicle to transport Plain City’s K-9 unit, and night vision goggles for the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
So far in 2017, the Highway Patrol’s interdiction team has confiscated a total of $344,150 in Madison County.