Even rural areas can be dangerous for law officers

Ron Craig

As I am writing this column, we are in the middle of National Police Week (May 8-14). We are lucky to work in a relatively safe area where we are supported by a great majority of the residents.
That doesn’t mean we do not have dangerous situations arise from time to time in Lake Township. Case in point: In 2018 there was a man from Detroit who had murdered several family members in that city before he headed to Ohio. At some point, troopers from the Ohio State Highway Patrol began a pursuit of the suspect that ended at a Lake Township truck stop when the suspect crashed his car. Two Lake Township police officers were part of the pursuit.
After the suspect crashed his car in the parking lot of the truck stop, he began to run but was quickly surrounded by officers. The suspect pulled a gun and took his own life.
This incident could have easily been much more tragic if the man had started shooting at the officers, including those from Lake Township.
Sgt. Scott Sims and Officer Kelly Clark, the two Lake Township officers on the scene that day, can be thankful there was only one person killed in that incident that occurred in the normally quiet confines of the township.
Sgt, Sims, now retired, recalls several other dangerous incidents in which he was involved as an LTPD officer, including suspects who barricaded themselves while armed and traffic stops in which he disarmed suspects.
In a more recent incident, we were dispatched to a township residence where a man with mental issues was firing a gun in a residential setting with other houses and residents nearby. As officers approached the man, he began to raise his gun toward the responding officers.
The officers had their guns drawn and had their fingers on the triggers about to fire when the man dropped the gun. A split second later it would probably have ended very tragically.
On March 31, Bluffton Police Officer Dominic Francis lost his life as he was trying to deploy stop sticks in an effort to end a high-speed pursuit. Bluffton is also a normally quiet, peaceful small town on the Hancock-Allen county line.
The point I’m trying to make here is that officers don’t need to be in a big city to risk their lives to protect its citizens. Every day these officers put on their uniforms and report to their stations for work, they accept the risks that come with their jobs.
Nothing makes officers feel better about doing their duty than to hear from members of the public that they appreciate the work they do.

This article is a public service from the Community Policing/Crime Prevention Division of the Lake Township Police Department. Township residents may obtain further information on crime prevention and public safety topics by contacting Ron Craig, crime prevention specialist/community policing officer, at 419-481-6354.


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