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Special WPD operation has effect on Wheeling Island drug issues

A three-week special operation during March curbed multiple drug-related issues on Wheeling Island, the Wheeling Police Department announced Friday.

The operation netted 15 arrests, many wanted from other jurisdictions, 17 criminal citations, 70 traffic stops, 23 consensual encounters and multiple verbal warnings, WPD said. Officers worked roughly 188 hours between March 3-27 and used funding from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to cover all manpower costs.

When comparing overdoses from the 25-day operation to the same time in 2019 — 2020 was not used because of the stay-at-home order — there was a 50% reduction in cases.

Led by North District Commander Lt. Russ Campbell and the WPD patrol divisions, the operation was supported by the Ohio Valley Drug Task Force and the West Virginia Division of Corrections Parole Office. Police worked several targeted days of the week during the three-week operation, thanks to data provided by WPD’s crime analyst, who focused on specific days and times when drug activity takes place and when overdoses are likely to occur.

The officers also worked in a variety of roles, including uniformed patrols, walking in various neighborhoods, encountering suspected criminals in a non-uniformed setting, and using various surveillance tools.

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