News Tyrone Daily Herald Archives

Operation Our Town summarizes first-year accomplishments

Operation Our Town representatives held a news conference yesterday to report to the community on the successes of its first year and to announce: this year’s grants to local law enforcement; grant availability for prevention and treatment; support of the Booker T. Washington Community Revitalization Project and partnership with the Pennsylvania State Police.
The news conference followed a Chamber breakfast club meeting at the Casino at Lakemont Park during which OOT presented its first annual Community Partnership Award to Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett.
According to a press release issued by Operation Our Town, in 2007, OOT grants funded drug raids and seizures, saturation patrols and a part-time prosecutor in the Blair County DA’s office dedicated solely to drug crimes.
Many have credited this funding for the fact that Blair County drug arrests are up, and crime rates and drug deaths are declining.
Operation Our Town’s Most Wanted List, initiated May 23, 2007, has taken 11 of 17 suspects listed off the streets — a 65 percent capture rate.
‑Funding for programs like SWOOP (Street Wise Outreach Opportunity Program) and the R.O.C.K. (Reaching Out to Community Kids) are helping to educate kids and keep them from using drugs.
Other funding in 2007 included a $15,000 grant awarded for the purchase of a police dog to combat drug activity in Tyrone Borough and throughout Blair County through the Blair County Drug Task Force.
According to the release, Operation Our Town will award $200,000 in 2008 for law enforcement. The money will help pay for:
• Special operations — Warrant squad, interdiction squad, saturation patrols, search warrants, drug hot line, stakeout details, drug raids and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force program;
• Blair County Task Force — Tactical equipment, rental vehicles, training, supplies, radios, entry vests and helmets and entry tools;
• Association of Blair County Law Enforcement (A.B.L.E.) — Police training equipment and materials to enhance, update and maintain the interactive training system provided by the regional terrorism task force and
• Logan Township Police Department — Tactical entry equipment.
In other developments, Operation Our Town will be making the second $45,000 payment on a three-year grant for a Blair County assistant district attorney specializing in drug cases.
Also, grant money totaling $200,000 will be available for proven local prevention and treatment programs in 2008. There will be two grant cycles of $100,000 each. The first applications will be accepted beginning in March, with the second cycle to follow in September.
Furthermore, Operation Our Town has initiated a partnership with the Pennsylvania State Police in Hollidaysburg for law enforcement in a further effort to reduce illegal drug use and related crime in our area. The partnership has three main components: saturation details throughout Blair County, which could include the use of K-9 units, helicopters and troopers; Operation SHIELD, a highway interdiction team for detection of narcotics in vehicles and undercover drug investigations.