TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - The Ohio State Highway Patrol is hoping to gain new crime fighting tools. It is training truckers how to spot crimes on highways.
In the trucker world, he is known as "Magic."
"Because, sometimes I can magically make loads appear where they're supposed to be," explained truck driver Derrick Malone.
Malone is fueling up his rig and heading to Chicago. He has been driving for 11 years and said he is frequently observing what is around him.
"We do sit up a lot higher and we do see a lot more things in cars that other people wouldn't see," said Malone.
That is why the OSHP is training truck drivers on how to spot crimes that occur along the highways. The program is called "Truck Shield."
"It's kind of a shortened version of what we get. It teaches them to look for possible indicators of terrorism, drug trafficking, human trafficking," said Lt. William Bowers with the OSHP.
Bowers said it happens locally more than people realize.
"Absolutely. With the national media, Toledo and northwest Ohio has been in the media big time for the human trafficking," said Bowers.
Bowers said most of the crimes happen at spots where truckers congregate, such as rest stops and motels. He believes a program like Truck Shield will help crack down on the crimes.
"Not everybody is a law abiding citizen. The vast majority of people are and we'd like to work together and get the criminals and impaired drivers off the roadway," said Bowers.
Malone is willing to help, but will not lose focus on the reason he is driving.
"You can only look at so much, because we do have to watch the road, as well," said Malone.
Those interested in learning more about the Truck Shield program can call the Toledo Highway Patrol Post at 419-865-5544.