Criminal Justice Update
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Best of the best

John Gocala Sr.
Youngstown State University Police Chief (retired); Commander and instructor at Youngstown State University Police Academy
Commander Gocala started his career in 1971 in the Youngstown Police Department’s vice unit and later became police chief at Youngstown State, serving until 2012. An educator most his life, he began teaching for OPOTA in the late 1970s and has been an instructor at the YSU Police Academy since it opened in 2000.

William Chattman
Senior case manager, Eastway Behavioral Health
In his ride-alongs as a part of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Crisis Intervention Team, Mr. Chattman connects people in crisis to treatment services in the community and provides education and support services to families learning how to manage loved ones with mental illness and addiction issues.

Sheriff John Hinton | Morrow County Sheriff’s Office
Sheriff Hinton has been a prominent advocate for mental health and addiction services. As part of those efforts, he worked with the Delaware-Morrow Mental Health and Recovery Services Board to create an app to help those in need locate services. Additionally, he has served with United Way, the Morrow County Food Pantry, and the Red Cross.

Officer Shawn Lutz | Columbus Division of Police
Officer Lutz’s duties include acting as a liaison to ensure the police department works efficiently with all community partners and stakeholders, both in Linden, where he is assigned, and in Columbus’ LGBTQ+ community. In that role, he helped establish the first “Dialogue Team,” a unit dedicated to improving police engagement with people exercising their First Amendment rights.

Officer Jerry Orick | Columbus Division of Police
Officer Orick has devoted much of his career to improving the skills of law enforcement. A detective assigned to the Columbus Police/ATF Crime Gun Enforcement Team, he regularly shares his knowledge of NIBIN and investigative techniques to mine data from digital media. Additionally, he was instrumental in the recent development of central Ohio’s Regional Crime Gun Intelligence Center.

Sgt. Lindsey Alli | Columbus Division of Police
Sgt. Alli has helped build the Columbus Division of Police youth recruiting team, which has two components: the Public Safety Corps, aimed at youths and young adults ages 14 through 20, and the Cadet Program, a three-year paid internship for adults 18 and older. She also is helping to re-establish the Columbus Police Athletic League as another important source of support for youths.

Chief Timothy Sopkovich | Brunswick Hills Police Department
Chief Sopkovich started a food pantry so residents could drop off donations to help neighbors. At Christmas and Easter, he hosts breakfasts and other family events, with proceeds from ticket sales supporting families throughout the year. And in summer, his department runs a program called Good Citation, which awards toys to kids who follow safety rules or do something nice for someone.

The Central Ohio OOCIC/HIDTA Drug Task Force
The Central Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission/High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Task Force focuses on dismantling drug trafficking rings. In May and December of 2022, the task force identified two operations that were flooding the region with cocaine and fentanyl from Mexico. Six people were arrested and 19 kilograms of fentanyl, 22,000 fentanyl pills and 96 kilograms of cocaine were recovered.

The Ohio Northeast Smuggling Enforcement Team (ONSET)
ONSET investigates the smuggling of narcotics and currency with a special focus on the Akron-Canton Airport, Akron Greyhound bus terminal, and local hotels. It is one of the top performing task forces in Ohio. Since its inception in 2020, ONSET has seized more than 1,000 pounds of narcotics, $4.5 million in currency, and 47 firearms. The task force also has made 53 arrests and recovered 13 stolen cars.

Officer Tim Goins | Miami Township Police Department
On May 20, 2022, Tim Goins and other Miami Township officers found themselves crouched behind their vehicles in an apartment complex parking lot in Milford. A shirtless woman firing a pistol strode toward them, ignoring their shouts to drop her gun. About 20 minutes earlier, Goins had been called to the complex to check on the woman. When she refused assistance, Goins left. Now he was back. When the woman pointed her gun at him, he delivered six rounds, killing the woman. Miami Township Police Chief Mike Mills said Goins’ bravery “undoubtedly saved lives.”

Sgt. Eric Kocheran | Ross County Sheriff’s Office
On Nov. 17, 2022, Sgt. Kocheran answered a knock at the back of the sheriff’s office. The man first asked Kocheran to get more officers, then said somebody wanted him to hurt kids, but that he couldn’t do that. He then drew a gun and shot Kocheran in the chest. Somehow, the sergeant was able to return fire, killing the gunman and ending a potential threat to Chillicothe residents. Kocheran underwent multiple surgeries and is unlikely to return to duty.

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