Beacon Journal staff report
JACKSON TWP.: Law enforcement agencies on Monday announced plans that will allow officers to store the chemical remains of meth labs in five new storage units around Ohio.
The regional storage sites include the State Highway Patrol post off Shuffel Street, just west of Interstate 77 near the Akron-Canton Airport.
The units, which cost about $7,000 each, were installed as part of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Authorized Central Storage Container Program. Manufactured by Securall of LaPorte, Ind., the units were purchased through the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Office of Criminal Justice Services.
The box unit in Stark County is parked behind the patrol’s headquarters. The idea behind the storage unit project is to allow police officers who uncover a methamphetamine lab to safely store the hazardous chemicals and waste materials once they are deactivated and removed from the crime scene.
A state contractor then will collect the waste from the storage unit. On average, law enforcement agencies find two meth labs per day somewhere in Ohio.
State officials say the storage containers, which are about the size of a garden shed, will help cut the cleanup costs that come with meth labs.
The other storage units are located at State Highway Patrol posts in Athens and Lebanon, the Columbus police impound lot and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine held a news conference Monday at the patrol post in Jackson Township to announce the new program.
“In a time where very few law enforcement agencies have officers to spare, these containers will help not only save money, but also save the valuable time that officers spend guarding drug cleanup scenes. This will help get them back on the streets faster so that they can investigate their next case,” he said.
DeWine’s office says contractors are typically paid $1,000 to $2,500 per lab to remove the materials. Once the units are operational, law enforcement can now store multiple meth labs to allow for a single pickup from the contractors.
In the past, officers would remain at the site to await a contractor who would remove the waste.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation will oversee the containers, and authorities hope to add more units in the future.
Authorities say they have uncovered about 770 meth labs in the past year throughout the state.