Middletown police now part of team investigating fatal traffic crashes

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Middletown police now part of team investigating fatal traffic crashes

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The Butler County Sheriff’s Office Serious Traffic Accident Reconstruction Team (S.T.A.R.T) investigates a fatal crash on Hursh Road in Madison Twp. on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. Middletown Division of Police has joined the Butler County Sheriff’s Office, Monroe Police, Fairfield Township Police and Oxford Police on the team to help investigate serious traffic accidents. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Middletown has become the latest police agency in Butler County to join the sheriff office’s Serious Traffic Accident Reconstruction Team, also known as START.

On Monday, Middletown Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw announced the venture, Tweeting, “Another way that regionalization pools resources to be better.”

In March, Middletown also joined the Butler County Sheriff’s Office regional narcotics unit.

The city has an agreement with the Ohio Highway Patrol to investigate serious and fatal crashes, said Middletown Lt. David Birk.

“But they are not always available. This will be a backup and a way to get more training and resources,” said Middletown Lt. David Birk.

Middletown Officer Ryan Rogers is now assigned to the county team and undergoing specialized training to be used in accident reconstruction. He is called out to scenes as needed.

In addition to the sheriff’s office and Middletown, police agencies in Monroe, Fairfield Twp. and Oxford are all part of the team.

Members are called out to fatal crashes to investigate.

“There is no cost, other than covering the officer’s call out,” Birk said.

Some smaller jurisdictions do not have a high volume of injury accidents or fatalities compared to that of the sheriff’s office. As a team, agencies can pool our resources together and defray the costs among the participating agencies, according to the sheriff’s office.

Team members have access to and utilize a laser mapping system and digital cameras to document the crash scenes. Once information is gathered, it is downloaded to a diagramming program, and two- or three-dimensional presentations can be printed.

“It involves a lot of specialized training and that is diminished if not used,” said Butler County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Anthony Dwyer. “It is a way to share resources and let everyone keep up with their skills.”

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