PIQUA — Piqua police and other agencies in the surrounding area raided a residence that once housed the Flesh Public Library on Thursday morning at 6:10 a.m.
Earlier that morning, a multi-agency briefing was conducted on an Incident Action Plan designed to safely serve a high-risk search warrant at 124 W. Greene St. There has been an ongoing investigation at this large residence. Information gathered in the investigation resulted in probable cause needed to seek a search warrant for this location for the purpose of gathering additional evidence in support of the investigation.
According to Piqua Chief of Police Bruce Jamison, a risk assessment was completed for the location and showed that the execution of that warrant presented a high overall risk. The most significant factors were the size of the building, the expected presence of firearms, history of perpetrators of violent crimes taking refuge here, large numbers of unknown subjects engaged in drug activity, and considerable drug abuse taking place inside the premises.
With life safety foremost in mind, Jamison explained that plans were prepared for execution of the search warrant using sufficient resources for both known and potential risks.
“An operation like this is beyond the capabilities of our department alone,” Jamison said. “And we’re fortunate to have great partnerships with other agencies willing to assist us and our community to accomplish high-risk missions.”
The Piqua Police Department expressed gratitude to the following agencies, in particular, for their assistance:
• Piqua/Sidney Tactical Response Team
• Ohio State Highway Patrol Special Response Team
• Miami County Sheriff’s Office detectives
• Sidney PD Detectives and K9
• Tipp City PD K9
• Piqua Fire Department – Rescue Task Force
• Miami County Communications Center – Incident Communications Response Team
Over 55 units were involved. The scene was turned over to investigations at 7:25 a.m. They were there for several hours.
“We’ve been keeping an eye on the place for years,” Jamison said.
Jamison stated that the house was meant for a single family occupancy. After Thursday’s search warrant, there were indications that there was more than a single family living there.
“It does look like our information was correct as far as multiple people living there,” Jamison said.
One of the most significant aspects that the Piqua Police Department was looking at in the investigation was what the living conditions were. According to Jamison, they believed that there were unsafe living conditions at that residence.
The evidence that they uncovered on Thursday reportedly supports that claim. The Piqua Health Department condemned the property for unsafe living conditions following the execution of the Piqua Police Department’s search warrant.
Police also reportedly verified that drug activity was going on at the property. According to Jamison, they seized small amounts of heroin, cocaine, prescription drugs, and marijuana.
“What so many people were suspecting was going on there really was,” Jamison said.
Jamison also explained that the search warrant was secured through patterns that the police department could establish and other law enforcement efforts. There were not many tips from the surrounding community.
“We’ve had a lot of successes with a community partnership on things like this in the past,” Jamison said.
This time, there appeared to be a disconnect between the police department and community. However, Jamison stated, “We did understand the community’s frustration.”
Jamison explained that they heard rumors, but there were not very many people who came forward with their suspicions or information firsthand.
“We would get third- and fourth-hand information,” Jamison said. “Because we were hearing so much of it, we knew it was a problem and the community knew it was problem.”
The police department is encouraging anyone with information on any suspicious activities occurring at the house to contact the department directly. Jamison explained that the department wants to help get rid of this potential hot spot for crime and drug use.
“We want to resolve this problem,” Jamison said.
Jamison also explained that the department filed nuisance warnings against the property during the summer, and the occupants corrected some of those nuisances. It was evident, though, that things at the property began to get back out of control, according to Jamison.
The community did take notice of the department’s efforts on Thursday and expressed their own gratitude toward the police.
“The officers did a fantastic job,” Doon Kemmer of Piqua said. “It made me and my family feel much safer. We want to acknowledge (that) … We really appreciate the hard work and efforts they put in every day.”
The Piqua Police Department can be contacted at (937) 778-2027. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling 937-615-TIPS (8477) or by visiting www.piquaoh.org/police_submitatip.htm for more information.
To submit an anonymous tip through text messaging, type the keyword PIQUAPD and the message, then send it to 274637.
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall