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New tool to fight crime now open after officials cut ribbon on Strike Force headquarters

Cleveland Strike Force now open
Posted at 7:00 PM, Jan 06, 2021

CLEVELAND — A new crime-fighting tool in Northeast Ohio is now complete. Cleveland is one of just 16 cities across the country to have a federal OCDETF Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The building is now complete and was unveiled on Wednesday.

“This brings a physical structure to what we’ve been doing here,” said Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams.

Cleveland Strike Force was announced two years ago to stop violent crime, gangs and drugs. Within a few months, federal, state and local authorities were working side by side on the streets.

"Cleveland is one of the largest Strike Forces in the nation," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric Smith. “The need for such a capability comes as a response to a persistent and growing crime rate, but it also serves as a bulwark and a predictive unit to address the new threats we see ahead. This Strike Force represents the best of our combined efforts, law enforcement resources working violence, drugs, gangs, carjackings, and armed robberies, together under one roof. We know this unanimity of purpose and unity of effort will only enhance our efforts to combat, disrupt and dismantle criminal activity,” added Smith.

The building will house 35 state and federal agencies, more than 200 agents, investigators and police officers. The Cleveland Strike Force, unlike others nationwide, will be laser-focused on violent crime.

“The OCDETF Strike Force is another tool we are using to collectively combat those distributing poison throughout Ohio and committing violent acts to further their enterprise at the expense of the safety and security of our communities,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Martin. “We have already seen results from our collaborative efforts with our state, local and federal partners in Ohio and I fully expect this initiative to only get better, added Martin.

Cleveland has a crime rate higher than the national average.

“If you are a drug trafficker, a gang member, a cartel member, you may think that 2020 went your way. You made some money selling poison on our streets, shot a couple of people. You feel like the world is yours, we’re here to tell you it’s not,” said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman, Northern District of Ohio.

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