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Mount Vernon, Knox County, Ohio

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Online crime mapping available to the public in Knox County

MOUNT VERNON - The Knox County Sheriff’s Office and BAIR Analytics Inc. recently partnered to provide a new way for the public to stay informed about crime in Knox County. The Knox County Sheriff’s Office now has an online crime map called RAIDS Online (www.raidsonline.com) that maps and analyzes crime data, alerts Knox County citizens about crimes in their area, and allows the Knox County Sheriff’s Office to alert the public about crimes as they occur. 

Knox County citizens can view a map and grid with all of the crimes in their area and sign up for neighborhood watch reports that automatically email a breakdown of recent crime activity. RAIDS Online automatically syncs with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office’s records system to keep crime information updated online and in the mobile app.  RAIDS Online cleans and geocodes the crime data, then displays the incidents on a map, grid and analytics dashboard along with some basic information about the incidents, including the type of crime, location type, block-level address, date and time.

“The Knox County Sheriff’s Office’s participation in RAIDS Online highlights their commitment to proactive communication with the public they serve,” said Sean Bair, founder of BAIR Analytics, “We’re excited to partner with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office to provide this free service for their public.”

Typically, agencies can spend thousands of dollars annually through other crime mapping providers. BAIR Analytics offers RAIDS Online and the RAIDS Online Mobile app as a free service. RAIDS Online is ad-free and BAIR Analytics does not sell the data to third party vendors, thus the agency remains in complete control over their data. “We wanted to do something to help law enforcement in these tough economic times. We consider this a basic service that we are more than happy to provide to the public and our law enforcement friends,” said Bair, a former police officer and analyst.

RAIDS Online Mobile

RAIDS Online Mobile empowers citizens to better understand crime trends and lower crime in their area. Recent crime incidents are displayed on a map or listed in a grid.  Users can click on an incident for more information or display a hotspot map based on the crimes that are currently in display. Users can also sign up for neighborhood watch reports that automatically email any recent crime activity on a daily, weekly or monthly schedule. The app makes all of this information accessible anywhere from a user’s mobile device. The RAIDS Online Mobile app is available for FREE on the App Store.

Anyone can visit Knox County’s crime map at:

About BAIR Analytics

Established in 1997, BAIR Analytics is an analytical software and services company providing innovative tools and subject-matter expertise for public safety, private security, national security and defense entities. Nearly half of the largest public-safety agencies in the United States use BAIR’s products & services to fight crime.  BAIR’s customers also include Wal-Mart, Target, ATF, and the US Department of Defense. In 2012 BAIR Analytics was honored as a top 50 Colorado company and made its debut as one of the fastest-growing private companies in America on the Inc. 500/5000 list. For more information, visit www.bairanalytics.com.

PRIDE survey measures alcohol, tobacco and other drug use among local youth

MOUNT VERNON-Children and adolescents whose parents who tell them not to use alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs are less likely to use. And a majority of youth (64%) surveyed in Knox County did not use any alcohol, tobacco or other drugs in the last year. Those are just two of the findings in the latest PRIDE survey of Knox County public school students. Results were released at a news conference this morning in Mount Vernon.

In Spring 2013, Knox County schools administered the PRIDE survey. This survey assesses alcohol, tobacco and other drug use as well as other factors related to the health and wellbeing of adolescents. Almost 1,100 youth in grades 6, 8, 10 and 12 completed the PRIDE Survey. The survey was made possible with support from Mental Health & Recovery for Licking and Knox Counties and United Way of Knox County.

The following are key findings from the PRIDE survey.

• Most youth (64%) did not use any alcohol, tobacco or other drugs in the last year.

• Knox County youth use ATOD (alcohol, tobacco or other drugs) at slightly higher rates than youth in the U.S.

• On average, Knox County youth start using ATOD later than peers nationwide.

• Younger students have strong perceptions that their parents believe it would be wrong for them to use alcohol (94%), tobacco (97%) or marijuana (99%) (6th graders).

• Very few students carry or use any type of weapon for protection or to harm others either at school or in the   community.

• Most students (83%) perceive positive support at school (adults are available, caring, respectful, inclusive of all students and notice good work).

• Knox County youth rarely use ATOD at school; typically, they are using in their own or friends’ homes.
Substance Use Issues in Knox County

• As Knox County adolescents get older, more youth use AToD and the frequency of use increases, particularly for alcohol, tobacco and marijuana.

• Alcohol is the most commonly used substance among Knox County youth, with 38% of 12th graders reporting drinking in the last 30 days.

• Among 12th graders, 19% report smoking and 19% report marijuana use in the last 30 days.

• Among monthly drinkers, 66% reported binge drinking. Binge drinking is defined as having 5 or more drinks in a row.


Substance Use Issues in Knox County

• As Knox County adolescents get older, more youth use AToD and the frequency of use increases, particularly for alcohol, tobacco and marijuana.

• Alcohol is the most commonly used substance among Knox County youth, with 38% of 12th graders reporting drinking in the last 30 days.

• Among 12th graders, 19% report smoking and 19% report marijuana use in the last 30 days.

• Among monthly drinkers, 66% reported binge drinking. Binge drinking is defined as having 5 or more drinks in a row.

• By 12th grade, there is a significant decline in parental disapproval with only 55% reporting that their parents would say it was very wrong for their child to drink alcohol

• By 12th grade, there is also a significant decrease in parents setting clear rules, with only 38% of parents setting clear rules often.

• For students who are using substances, the average age to begin drinking and use tobacco is 13-1/2; the average age of first marijuana use 14-1/2.

• By high school, students report that it is fairly or very easy to get tobacco (92%), alcohol (84%) and marijuana (80%).

• 31% of 12th grade students reported that an adult provided alcohol to them or their friends within the last month.

Other Risky Behaviors

• Threats of violence and cyber-bullying peak in middle school

• Most students do not get adequate sleep, and sleep deprivation increases with age. 77% of high school students get less than 8 hours of sleep on school nights.

Risky Behaviors and Other Problems

There is abundant research which links youth ATOD use with other problem behaviors. The Knox County results reinforce this research. For example monthly use of ATOD is strongly related to:

• Being in trouble at school or with the police

• Having thoughts about suicide

o 23% of the students who use substances monthly reported thinking about suicide “sometimes” to “a lot” whereas only 7% who do not use substances reported thinking about suicide.

• Easy access to alcohol or other substances

Research also underscores the importance of supportive adults in the lives of our youth. This holds true for school support but is especially important from parents. For example, parental disapproval is the strongest predictor of ATOD use among youth. In Knox County, for students who reported that their parents think it is very wrong for them to use ATOD, 90% of these students reported no ATOD use in the last year.

Using the 2013 Pride Survey data, local agencies are now working together to address the identified problems. It typically takes a whole community working together to address these adolescent issues. Current efforts involve representatives from law enforcement, health care, business, social services, schools and government. The goal is to take a practical approach to preventing these problems by providing universal access to scientifically proven low-cost strategies.

“For some time we have been seeing more and more children with early behavioral and emotional problems that are costly to help,” said Kay Spergel, Executive Director of the Mental Health & Recovery for Licking and Knox Counties. “Keeping our kids healthy and productive are community issues and this information is a key step toward working with our community partners to prevent these problems in the first place.”

“We all have a responsibility to ensure that our children succeed in school and in life,” said Jen Odenweller, Executive Director of United Way of Knox County. “We are excited to partner with the whole community in developing strategic opportunities that will best serve Knox County youth and are wise community investments.”

Spergel identified some potential strategies that have demonstrated effectiveness in improving the health of our children such as an electronic curfew, getting a good night’s rest, Conscious Discipline, the Pax Good Behavior Game training for teachers, empathy training, and recognizing good choices to name a few.

To view an overview of the 2013 PRIDE Survey results, visit http://www.mhrlk.org/ or https://www.facebook.com/Knoxsubstanceabuseactionteam.


Knox County Sheriff's office receives nearly $33k grant for overtime traffic enforcement

MOUNT VERNON - Earlier this year the Knox County Sheriff’s Office applied for a grant titled, “High Visibility Enforcement Overtime 2014.”  Tuesday, Sheriff David Shaffer announced in a news release that the Sheriff’s Office was awarded the grant totaling $32,874.38. This grant is made available through the Ohio Traffic Safety Office and appropriated by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The grant will reimburse Knox County for deputies working overtime traffic enforcement. It also provides funding to use towards fuel purchases and educational activities. The grant runs from October 2013 through September 2014. The grant consists of required and elective times or blitzes throughout the next year. A total of seven hundred overtime hours will be used for the grant.   Deputies will work enhanced special traffic enforcement in certain predetermined areas of the county during each blitz.

The goal of this grant is to try and reduce traffic-related fatal and serious injury accidents in Knox County. Some of the traffic issues deputies will be closely watching will be speed, seatbelt restraints, impaired driving, and distracted driving.  The first blitz will cover Halloween, October 25th thru November 1st.

Mount Vernon to be honored for promoting good health


The city of Mount Vernon is among 21 communities to be honored with the Healthy Ohio-Healthy Community Award. The awards are given annually by the Ohio Department of Health’s (ODH) Bureau of Healthy Ohio. There are four levels of awards: platinum, gold, silver and bronze. Mount Vernon received a silver award. This was the first time the city has been nominated for a Healthy Community award.

The Knox County Health Department submitted the award application in recognition of several developments to improve area residents’ health. “While there’s still much more to do, we felt there were a lot of good things that have been done that show we are moving in the right direction,” said Health Commissioner Julie Miller. “This includes a master plan for walking and biking, the availability of farmers markets and community gardens, a maintained park system, free tobacco cessation classes and the work of the Community Health Partnership.”

Healthy Ohio-Healthy Community awards recognize a community’s achievements in developing and implementing health-related policies, and providing healthy community environments. The award recognizes a community’s efforts in enabling employees, residents and visitors to make healthy choices including participating in physical activity, eating good, nutritious foods and avoiding tobacco.

The Mount Vernon application acknowledged several health-related initiatives including the school program Crunch Out Obesity, a fitness challenge by the prosecutor’s office, the Knox Substance Abuse Action Team which fights prescription drug abuse, Project Lifesaver, the Suicide Prevention Coalition and the mobile urgent trauma team, a mental health crisis team for children.

Mount Vernon Mayor Rickard K. Mavis said the award was “a reflection of many different groups working together for the benefit of all.” He cited the sidewalk extension on Mount Vernon Avenue and the upkeep of the various park spaces as  good  examples of healthy initiatives. “We are appreciative of the health department for submitting the application. Working together we have been able to make our city a better place to live.”

ODH will present the Healthy Ohio-Healthy Community awards at the Ohio Society for Public Health Education Health Educators’ Institute conference on Oct. 24 at the Salt Fork State Park Resort and Conference Center in Cambridge.

The 2013 Healthy Ohio-Healthy Community award winners are:

Platinum:  City of Westerville (Franklin) and City of Warren (Trumbull). Both cities have achieved five or more gold stars since the start of the Healthy Ohio-Healthy Community awards began in 2006.

Gold: Adams County; City of Athens (Athens); City of Brunswick (Medina): City of Dayton (Montgomery); City of Findlay (Hancock); City of Norwalk (Huron); City of Springdale (Hamilton); Lake County, Marion County; and City of Wilmington (Clinton).

Silver: City of Cincinnati (Hamilton); City of Nelsonville (Athens); City of Toledo (Lucas); Genoa Township (Delaware); Holmes County;  Liberty Township (Delaware);  and City of Mount Vernon (Knox)

Bronze: City of Dover (Union); Village of Sunbury (Delaware)

Knox County Grand Jury Indicts Ferrell, 6 others

MOUNT VERNON - According to Knox County Prosecutor John Thatcher, the Grand Jury returned seven indictments, on Monday. Arraignments in the cases will be held before Judge Otho Eyster in the Knox County Court of Common Pleas, on October 25 at 9 a.m.

As the result of a standoff with law enforcement Anthony R. Ferrell, 31, Mount Vernon, faces charges of escape, inducing panic, possession of cocaine, tampering with evidence and two firearms offenses. Thatcher said on September 27 at about 7:30 p.m., a Sheriff’s Deputy stopped the motor vehicle Ferrell was driving on U.S. Route 36 near Bangs. After Ferrell got out of the car he consented to the deputy’s request to conduct a pat down search. Before the deputy started the search, Ferrell allegedly pulled a 9 mm handgun from his waistband, chambered a round and started running toward a nearby field. Detective David Light, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, had just arrived at the scene to provide backup for the deputy. Light chased Ferrell into the field until Ferrell stopped running and threatened to commit suicide, pointing the barrel of the gun at his chest. Ferrell held officers at bay with threats of suicide for the next two hours. While officers negotiated with Ferrell, U.S. Route 36 was shut down for public safety, and units responded from the Knox and Licking County Sheriff’s Offices and the State Patrol to assist and provide traffic control. Three fire departments also responded to provide emergency medical services, if needed. Just prior to surrendering, Ferrell allegedly removed and swallowed two baggies of cocaine that had been hidden in his sock. After surrendering, Ferrell was transported to the hospital for evaluation and treatment and then to the jail. Ferrell was also charged with possessing a weapon under a legal disability because he was convicted of a felony assault charge, in 2007. Possessing a stolen gun was included in the indictment because the 9 mm was reported stolen from a Mount Vernon resident earlier this year.

Husband and wife Daniel P. Storts, 30, and Alisha L. Storts, 30, Mount Vernon, were indicted on ten charges of drug possession. Thatcher said the drugs include over 100 grams of heroin, over 15 grams of cocaine, small quantities of methamphetamine and marihuana, 313 Hydrocodone Bitartrate tablets, 418 Diazepam (Valium) tablets, 11 Clonazepam tablets and Buprenorphine (Suboxone). Possessing stolen drugs charges were included in the indictments because the Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Diazepam tablets were allegedly stolen from a pharmacy, near Columbus. Responding to a suspicious activity call, Deputy Ryan Burgess, KCSO, allegedly discovered the drugs in the Storts’ motor vehicle during a traffic stop on September 26.

Allen Lee Wears, 33, Danville, is charged with importuning for allegedly soliciting sex from a “15 year old girl” via the Internet. The “15 year old girl” was actually a fake persona created by law enforcement, according to Thatcher. Wears is also charged with disseminating matter harmful to juveniles for allegedly e-mailing the “15 year old girl” a photograph of himself fully naked. Wears was arrested on October 4, at the park in Danville, where he allegedly arranged to meet the “15 year old girl” for sex.

Jason W. Davis, 21, Fredericktown, is accused of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor for allegedly engaging in sexual intercourse with a 15 year old girl on multiple occasions between June and September. Detective Dan Bobo, KCSO, investigated the Wears and Davis cases.

Shawna L. Walker, 37, Bladensburg, allegedly stole a purse containing cash and a credit card, on September 5. Thatcher said since the alleged victim is a 74 year old Mount Vernon woman, Walker is accused of theft from an elderly person and theft of a credit card.

On September 26, Robert D. Woodward, 54, Mount Gilead, allegedly threw a brick at the window of a house on Pinkley Road, and then he stole property from the residence. Woodward is charged with burglary and possessing criminal tools, the brick allegedly use to commit the burglary. Deputy Jason Stachler, KCSO, investigated the Walker and Woodward cases.

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