Truck Shield Program

Ohio truckers helping state patrol nab criminals in new Truck Shield program

Trucker Chad Brinker noticed a glow, like that of a cigarette tip, appear in a car beside him as he drove north on Interstate 71 in late July. But it didn’t look quite right, and when the car’s driver handed something to the passenger, he realized it was a marijuana pipe. He reported the incident.

The next day he learned that in addition to drug paraphernalia, the vehicle carried “quite a bit” of marijuana.

Brinker was trained under the Ohio Truck Shield program, a partnership between Ohio Highway Patrol and the Ohio Trucking Association.

The program, launched in May, trains truckers throughout Ohio to spot criminal activity such as impaired driving, drug trafficking, terrorist threats and human trafficking. Truckers are encouraged to dial #677 to report incidents like these, and dispatchers send officers to check them out. The program has trained nearly 500 drivers since its launch.

“The training makes you more conscious of what’s going on around you . . . You’d be amazed at some of the things we see up here,” said Brinker, chuckling.

The #677 line receives about 5,000 calls per month, according to Ohio Highway Patrol Lt. Anne Ralston. The line was created for public use earlier this year by Gov. John Kasich.

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