Aggressive driving is an increasing problem

From WOOD COUNTY SAFE COMMUNITIES Wood County Safe Communities announced today there have been four fatal crashes this year, compared to two at the same time last year. According to The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, aggressive driving has become a major concern of the public, ranking at or near the top of traffic safety issues in national surveys. The Foundation defines aggressive driving as “any single unsafe driving behavior performed deliberately and with ill-intention.” As many as 56 percent of fatal crashes involve one or more unsafe driving behaviors typically associated with aggressive driving. Speeding is the most common contributing factor and is involved in nearly one in three deadly crashes. Tips to combat aggressive driving Don’t have a “Do as I say, not as I do” attitude Plan your trip Avoid dangerous interactions and confrontations Avoid eye contact with aggressive drivers Do not take the actions of other drivers personally Be a courteous and patient driver Do not tailgate and use the left lane only when passing Obey the speed limit Use signals and with plenty of warning Use the horn only as a safety device Identify alternative routes Just be late Get out of the way and let an aggressive driver pass Don’t challenge aggressive drivers

North Baltimore motorcyclist dies in Saturday crash

A North Baltimore man has been identified as the fatality in a Saturday afternoon accident on East Wooster Street in front of the Meijer store. Donald W. Backus, Jr., 33, of North Baltimore, died when he was ejected from the Suzuki motorcycle he was operating shortly before 4 p.m. Saturday. According to Bowling Green police, Backus was driving at a high rate of speed and had passed a number of vehicles when he struck the rear of another vehicle. He was ejected and was struck by an oncoming car. He died at the scene.

BG police to install new cameras in downtown

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green will soon be adding some eyes in the sky in the downtown area. New cameras are planned for the four corners and for the city parking lot behind Panera. The installation of cameras is nothing for residents to worry about, according to Bowling Green Police Chief Tony Hetrick. “This isn’t anything new. We’re just replacing them with updated models,” Hetrick said. The cameras are not used to catch motorists who are speeding or run red lights. And the vast majority of the footage goes unviewed – unless it’s needed to identify suspects. “We’ve solved some crimes,” such as assaults and robberies with the video, the chief said. Cameras have also recorded fatal accidents and have been helpful with determining how they occurred, Hetrick explained. A camera previously installed by the city at a construction site on the north edge of town recorded an accident in which four people were killed. And an ODOT camera at Interstate 75 captured a fatal motorcycle accident on the overpass. “They do have a usefulness in higher traffic areas,” Hetrick said. The city’s downtown cameras record constantly. The images can be pulled up in police dispatch if necessary. “Typically the dispatchers don’t have time to watch them,” on an ongoing basis, the chief said. The only video in constant view of the dispatchers comes from cameras at the intersection of Main and Wooster streets. “They are great for seeing traffic problems,” Hetrick said. Replacing those obsolete cameras at the four corners will cost $10,500. The new cameras for the parking lot behind Panera, where parking kiosks were recently installed, will cost $12,000. Since the city’s general fund is tight, the funds are coming from the police trust fund, which is generated from enforcement efforts such as fines. Hetrick hopes to next have cameras installed at the corner of North Main and Court streets. That area has the “highest incidence” of assaults and other issues as bars close, he said. Eventually, the chief would like to have cameras in all the city’s downtown parking lots. “We’ll hopefully expand cameras in those lots as they are updated,” he said. The city is careful to position the cameras so they cannot record neighboring residential properties, the chief added. In the past, the city has had cameras in the city lots behind the Clazel and behind Finders, on South Main near SamB’s, at Court and Main, and at Prospect and Wooster. However, all were removed when they became obsolete. The only remaining ones are at the four corners. The new cameras will be from Habitec, which are used at the Wood County Courthouse. The cameras have lasted quite a few years at the courthouse, and Hetrick is hoping they do well in outside weather conditions. “They’re not supposed to be that delicate,” he said. Ultimately, Hetrick would like the city to install cameras at other areas with frequent incidents. However, the city currently does not have the fiber network needed throughout the community.    

County records fewer fatal crashes in 2016

Submitted by WOOD COUNTY SAFE COMMUNITIES There were a 13 fatal crashes in 2016, compared to 23 in 2015, a decrease of 10 crashes, according to Wood County Safe Communities . Seat belts are the most effective traffic safety feature ever invented and have helped save thousands of lives. Unfortunately, one in five Americans fail to regularly wear a seat belt when driving or riding in a motor vehicle. The Click It or Ticket campaign focuses on safety education, strong laws, and law enforcement officers saving lives. The annual safety campaign is designed to urge all occupants to always buckle safety belts while riding in vehicles on America’s roadways. Thousands of Americans are alive today because a seat belt saved them during a crash. In 2015, the use of seat belts in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 13,941 lives of occupants ages 5 and older. “We have made enormous progress as a nation in increasing seat belt use, but far too many people are still dying because they are not buckled up during crashes,” said National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Administrator Mark Rosekind. “Before you even turn the key, make sure that everyone in your car has their seat belt on, every trip, day and night.” Last year in Ohio, seat belt use was recorded at 83.9%. This is down 1.1% from 2014, which was recorded at 85.0%. While these numbers are great, Safe Communities would like to remind everyone to wear seat belts, every time, in order to save lives.

Safety coalition offers a New Year’s lift for those too impaired to drive

By DAVID DUPONT BG independent News Sitting by the telephone on New Year’s Eve sounds like the set up for a sad song. That may be where Sandy Wiechman of the Wood County Safe Communities Coalition will spend her evening, and that’s good news for the community. For the fourth New Year’s Eve the council is offering drivers who have consumed a little too much liquid holiday cheer a free ride home in Bowling Green and its immediate environs. They just have to call 419-823-7765. This year the theme is “swallow your pride, call for a ride.” More than pride is at stake, though, according to Wiechman and others speaking at a press event Thursday at Thayer Family Dealership. Captain B. Gene Smith, of the Ohio Highway Patrol said state troopers, city police, and sheriff’s deputies will all be out intent on arresting impaired drivers. For those who choose to drive drunk getting arrested may be the best outcome. Far worse, would be a fatal crash, killing the drunk driver or an innocent party. Far better will be not make a plan to get home safely, he advised. Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards said drivers should think of their own safety and the safety of other people they may put in harm’s way by driving drunk. No one, Wiechman said, wants a law enforcement officer knocking on their door on New Year’s to tell them a loved one has been killed or is seriously injured. The service is available from 11 p.m. New Year’s Eve through 4 a.m. New Year’s morning, but Wiechman said she’ll start answering the telephone earlier, and is committed to keeping the service running until the last person needing a ride is safely home. Instead, the safety council is urging people to call 419-823-7765. The council will have three vans, on loan from People Centered Services in Perrysburg, waiting to pick them up and drive them home. She said she also gets calls from downtown bars, who have be strong supporters of the program, and from Taco Bell. The city’s tow companies have also worked with the council. In the past, the companies donated the money to rent vans, before People Centered Services donated their vehicles. Tow truck drivers will call if they encounter someone needing a ride. Wiechman said that the arrangement with People Centered Services started last year, and she was pleased when the agency’s new director Nikol Kinnersley continued it this year. Two people go out with each van for the safety of the volunteers and the passengers. One volunteer gathers the demographic data that the council needs to report in compliance with its $50,000 grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That grant funds council projects throughout the year. Last year the free ride service provided rides to 200 people. That was up from each of the previous years, 124 in 2013 and 140 in 2014. But the number that’s most important is there were no fatal accidents. Wiechman believes the free ride service is helping making the streets of Bowling Green safer. Wiechman said the council will use a third van this year given the forecast for rain. The passenger are mostly between the age of 19 and 26, and typically a van picks up a group of revelers. And…

County police take children on shopping trips

Submitted by WOOD COUNTY FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE The Wood County Fraternal Order of Police held its annual Cops and Kids Shopping Event on Saturday December 3 2016.  This is an event where police officers are paired up with a child from the area and provided a $100.00 gift card to spend on clothing and toys.  This is more than just about shopping, it is about building relationships between the kids and police officers. This year Meijer in Rossford again hosted  Cops and Kids here in Wood County.  This past Saturday, approximately 72 local law enforcement officers were able to take 127 kids shopping.  The majority of the financial support comes from the community, local businesses and local organizations.  The FOP certainly could not achieve this without the support of the community.  This event is a great opportunity for law enforcement and the community to work together to make local children’s holiday season a little brighter.  The kids that are invited to participate are referred by the local schools as well as from the officers.  On a daily basis, police officers are responding to calls here in Wood County.  As a result, they are in homes where they can see firsthand that a particular family could benefit from a helping hand.   The officers are paired up with a child from their jurisdiction and given a cart, a gift card and sent on their way to shop and more importantly, build that positive relationship.  They must first buy a coat.   The remaining money can be spent on toys.  A lot of times, the kids want to buy their brother or sister a gift as well.  The positive impact this has on the local kids and community is not really measurable.  And again, our local police officers could not pull it off without the financial support of the community.  The Wood County FOP Cops an Kids Program not only hosts this shopping event in December, but other programs through out the year.  In the Spring, the FOP host a movie night.  Officers invite area kids to come to the movie theater and watch a movie and share some popcorn.  In May of each year, the FOP invites 4th and 5th graders with perfect attendance to a day of fishing at Bass Pro.  The FOP continues to work with the community to come up with different programs were officers get to spend time with area kids in positive events.  Our goal is to have the kids see the officers past their uniforms, and realize they are there to help.   

Former BGSU chief talks about OSU attack response

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Monica Moll, formerly the police chief at BGSU, was on the job about a month at Ohio State University when her new campus came under attack. On Monday, a man plowed his car into a group of people and then pulled out a knife and charged at victims. Eleven people were hospitalized after the attack. Within a couple minutes, the attacker, student Abdul Razak Ali Artan, had been shot and killed by OSU Police Officer Alan Horujko. The incident was resolved in about the best possible manner, said Moll, now the director of public safety at OSU. “We had an officer in the right place at the right time,” she said on Thursday. Horujko had been responding to a report of a possible gas leak in the area of the attack. The officer credited his training for his quick response. “It all went according to planning,” Moll said. The university’s active shooter training and campus alert system are being credited for helping the community maintain order while the scene was secured. The campus is one of the largest in the U.S., with nearly 60,000 registered students. Law enforcement from the region responded, with officers arriving from Columbus police and fire departments, Ohio State Patrol, ATF, FBI, Homeland Security, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, and other nearby campuses. OSU Police Chief Craig Stone said his officers train annually to handle active shooters, on defensive tactics and firearms. “The good news is, they have a well-oiled machine down here,” Moll said. The dispatch center was bombarded with reports and questions as the incident unfolded. “They were flooded with calls,” she said. “The dispatchers did an excellent job.” Stone said students and staff have been urged to report problems. “We encouraged people to call us,” he said. That vigilance is even more heightened on campus now. “If you see something, say something.” It wasn’t just the emergency responders whose training kicked in, but also students and faculty who had been trained for a violent incident. The campus offers a training video called “Surviving an Active Shooter.” The training is not mandated for students, faculty or staff, but the video has logged more than 350,000 views. “It really applies to any emergency,” Moll said. A campus alert sent out moments after the attack warned those on campus to “Run, Hide, Fight.” The training had prepared students to flee from the danger if they could, hide in place if they could not run, and fight if necessary. Cell phone photos sent out from campus showed students who had stacked up chairs and desks in front of classroom doors to barricade themselves in and keep out an attacker. Moll said BGSU uses the ALICE training program, which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate. “They are all similar principles,” she said. The attack on OSU’s campus has revived talk by the state legislature about allowing college campuses to decide if they want to allow students, faculty and staff to carry firearms. Moll said she could not comment on whether a policy like that would have made law enforcement’s job more difficult on Monday. “But we are closely monitoring that, in case it changes,” she said of possible legislation. The campus and law enforcement response to Monday’s attack is…

Student charged for filing false assault report with campus police

By BG INDEPENDENT NEWS Bowling Green State University police have charged a second student with falsely claiming he was assaulted on campus several weeks ago. Nicholas Davis, 22, had told police on Nov. 15  that he had been assaulted behind the Student Recreation Center, called anti-gay slurs, and had his cell phone stolen. After the initial report, he said his phone had not been stolen and that he found it on the scene. Further investigation by police determined the assault had not occurred. Acting Police Chief Mike Campbell said Davis has been charged and released. He will have a hearing at Bowling Green Municipal Court. Campbell said that his officers spend many times and hours investigating reports and if those reports are false that takes time away from other police operations. Still, he said, a distinction needs to be made between a report that is legitimately a mistake and one that is deliberately false. Campbell said he would never discourage anyone from reporting an incident. “We want them to report those things.” Campbell said that there has been a heightened sense of apprehension on campus since the election, though there has not been an increase in incidents. “It’s just a matter of providing needed support” and helping people in the community and campus understand that BGSU “is a safe and inclusive environment.” Campbell said that Davis had told others that he wanted to bring attention to the problems faced by members of the LBGT community. Bowling Green city police filed charges two weeks ago, against another student who claimed she had been assaulted on Crim Street on Election Night. They determined the report was false. Eleesha Long was charged with falsification and obstructing official business.      

Sheriff asked to take messages to Trump team

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A roomful of students and faculty asked Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn Wednesday evening to deliver some messages to President-elect Donald Trump. Public policy should not be based on hatred and fear. Immigrants are not the problem. And African Americans are tired of mourning their dead then being asked by law enforcement to move on. Wasylyshyn, who is acting as a law enforcement liaison with the Trump administration, was asked to meet students and others who had concerns about the direction of the new administration. He was joined on a panel by faculty who presented brief lessons on the values of immigrants, the history of violence against African Americans, and the higher arrest rates for African Americans. Wasylyshyn, who was just re-elected to his fourth term as sheriff, said he suspected he was selected by the National Sheriffs Association to serve as liaison because of Ohio’s swing state status. He is also the incoming president of the Buckeye Sheriffs Association. He set the stage by explaining his philosophy for his office. “I truly look at us as public servants. I serve the public.” The key concerns shared so far during conference calls about the presidential transition effort have been mental health and opiate issues. Local jails have taken over where mental institutions left off, the sheriff said. “We have become the mental hospitals,” often when people stop taking their medications, he said. “We’re a revolving door. We’re saying a jail is not the right place.” The same is occurring with heroin and other opiates, with jails becoming detox centers. “We’re not designed for that.” Wasylyshyn wants to get those messages to the Trump team. But members of the BGSU audience wanted to send some different messages as well. They asked why law enforcement is more likely to give a white suspect the benefit of the doubt about mental health issues, but if the suspect is of color, law enforcement is more likely to jump to the conclusion that he is a thug or terrorist. Wasylyshyn said the actions of the suspect – not the color – determine the response. But not all see it that way. Nicole Jackson, a history professor, said her students desperately want to hear that “things get better” after the Civil Rights Movement. But the reality is not so rosy, she said, listing off name after name of black boys and men killed by law enforcement. “I’m watching images of people who look like me and my family members being killed,” Jackson said. Wasylyshyn said he had dash cameras put in all the sheriff’s patrol cars 12 years ago. The deputies were initially against the cameras as intrusion by “Big Brother,” he said. Later, the Wood County Sheriff’s Office was one of the first in the region to get body cameras for officers. “If I have a deputy who is doing something wrong, is too quick to use force, is being disrespectful, I want to know,” the sheriff said. A person in the crowd shouted out, asking how racist behavior by officers is handled. Wasylyshyn said the officer could be disciplined, even terminated. “We take that very seriously,” he said. “We’re not afraid to record what we’re doing,” he said, adding that officers are now trained to assume…

Sheriff’s sergeant dies after apparently shooting self in side

Sgt. Alvin Adams of the Wood County Sheriff’s Office died Saturday morning after an apparent accidental discharge of his personal weapon, according to Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn. Adams, 56, worked as a jail sergeant at the Wood County Justice Center and had been part of the force for 15 years, Wasylyshyn said Saturday evening. The sheriff said Adams was alone outside his home on River Road in Grand Rapids, when it appears he accidentally shot himself in the side, just above the hip. Adams was able to walk into his house where he told his girlfriend to call for help. He was pronounced dead at Wood County Hospital. Adams was off duty at the time of the shooting. “He will be greatly missed,” Wasylyshyn said.  “Al was very well liked, a very easy going man, well-liked by everyone in the office.” “Our hearts go out to him and his grown children and grandchildren,” Wasylyshyn said. The Wood County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the Wood County Coroner’s Office and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation-Crime Scene Unit, is investigating the incident.

BG police get community relations certification

  Submitted by BOWLING GREEN POLICE DIVISION The Bowling Green Police Department (Wood County) has adopted and implemented state standards established by the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board as part of the state’s efforts to strengthen community and police relations. The agency joins nearly 120 other agencies who have become certified by meeting standards for the use of force, including deadly force, and agency recruitment and hiring. The standards are the first of their kind in Ohio and were developed by the Collaborative in August 2015. The state has partnered with the Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association and the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police to help certify Ohio’s nearly 1,000 law enforcement agencies on a process to ensure that they are in compliance with Ohio’s new standards. Certifications will continue throughout 2016. The first list of all Ohio compliant agencies will be published in March 2017. For more information on the Ohio Collaborative, the certification process for law enforcement and the complete list of agencies who have been certified, please visit: http://www.ocjs.ohio.gov/ohiocollaborative/

BG businesses warned of billing scam

The Bowling Green Police has been made aware of a billing scam involving several phone calls to a local business in which the caller stated they were with Toledo Edison. The caller claimed that the business risked a shut down of service if payment was not immediately received. The business was not a Toledo Edison customer and recognized the calls as a scam . The numbers and names associated with the scam are as follows: 1-800-872-2202 1-800-677-4032, extension 202 The City of Bowling Green Utilities Department does not rely exclusively on phone calls to warn of past due accounts and utilizes a more formal process of notification. If your business receives a similar call do not provide them with any information. If you have a question about your business account call the Bowling Green Utilities Office at 419-354-6258.

BG police say student assault report is bogus

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The BGSU student who reported being assaulted and called racial slurs last week has been charged with falsification and obstructing official business. The student, Eleesha Long, 24, had reported that she was assaulted by three white males, Nov. 9, on a sidewalk in the first block of Crim Street, near campus. But an investigation by Bowling Green Police Division has resulted in Long being charged with filing a bogus report. “Her statements changed several times,” Police Lt. Dan Mancuso said Thursday afternoon. The details Long gave detectives varied on the location and the time of the incident. During one interview, she said it occurred in the morning as she was picking up political signs, and later she said it occurred at night as she was coming home from a bar, Mancuso said. “There were completely different statements as to what had happened,” he said. Police used text messages on Long’s cell phone plus information from cell phone towers in their investigation. “She was not where she said she was,” Mancuso said. Long was contacted by BG Independent News, but declined to answer any questions about the charges. Mancuso said false reports cause the police division to spend time needlessly on a crime that didn’t occur. “It wastes a lot of the investigators’ time, when they could be following up on actual complaints.” The assault accusation also created an uproar in the Bowling Green community, since Long reported that rocks were thrown at her by three males, who surrounded her, called her the “N” word and said they were “making America great again.” She said one of the males struck her in the face. “It also causes problems in the community,” Mancuso said. “It causes fear in the community.” Long’s accusation also put BGSU in the spotlight, with students accusing university officials of not releasing alerts about the assault. During a town hall meeting held earlier this week, university officials explained they notified students of the alleged assault as soon as they were able to talk with Long about the incident. Long initially reported the incident on Facebook, and filed a police report only after BGSU officials spoke with her. When asked by police why she posted the incident on Facebook, but did not contact police, Long said she did not think anyone else had witnessed the attack and it would have been her word against their word, according to the police report. The officer in the initial interview observed red bruising on the right side of her neck and some redness on her right cheek. The police canvassed the Crim Street area, speaking with five residents who live in the block that the incident reportedly occurred. All were home at the time of the alleged attack, but had not heard or seen anything, the report stated. While filing her statement with police, Long gave detailed descriptions of the three males she said attacked her, including details about one missing a tooth, one wearing a Fox brand hoodie, and another wearing an Insane Clown Posse shirt. Her texts to family and friends list different details, including descriptions of the three men wearing “Trump” shirts. Her texts to family and friends also state the she was at the hospital with police right after the…

Wasylyshyn a law enforcement liaison with Trump team

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn is helping the president-elect’s team plan policies for the Donald Trump presidency. Wasylyshyn, who was sworn in Tuesday evening as president of the Buckeye State Sheriffs Association, has been acting as a liaison between the National Sheriff’s Association and the Trump team. The sheriff hopes to have input on issues involving jails, surplus military equipment, and presidential responses to shootings by law enforcement officers. “I’ve always been very outspoken and not afraid to ask the difficult questions,” Wasylyshyn said this morning. “I’m very honored and humbled that I’ve been asked to be involved. It’s great for Wood County.” The sheriff, who recently won a fourth term, has been told to be prepared to go to Washington, D.C., on short notice. One of the initial items the sheriff’s association is being consulted on is the appointment of officials by the Trump team. “The Trump transition team has contacted us and they want input on appointments,” such as federal prosecutors, the attorney general, Homeland Security and U.S. marshals, he said. Wasylyshyn wants to make the Trump team aware of problems at jails, which is one of the “hottest issues” for law enforcement. According to the sheriff, 85 percent of all jails in the nation are run by sheriffs, and they are being overwhelmed by drug and mental health problems. “We need a serious discussion,” he said. “Jails are becoming detox facilities for people coming off heroin and other opioids. That is a drain on us.” Wasylyshyn also hopes to have input on decisions on mental health issues. “So many of the shootings” in the country involve people with mental health problems, he said. “We need to get help for these people before they go over the edge.” The sheriff wants to help convince the Trump administration to reverse the decision by President Barack Obama to limit the use of surplus military equipment by local law enforcement. That decision was made after police departments responded to protests across the nation in more of a military fashion than a community policing strategy. But Wasylyshyn said that military equipment is sometimes necessary for local law enforcement. He referred to the armored vehicle the Wood County Sheriff’s Office secured from the military, that has been used when dealing with armed suspects or as a barricade to protect the public. “When we’re sending a special response team in, I want them going in the safest vehicle,” he said. Wasylyshyn is also hoping to see a different philosophy toward police-involved shootings from the Trump administration. He faulted the Obama administration and media for creating a non-supportive environment for law enforcement. “We don’t want a president to immediately come to the conclusion that police are at fault,” he said. “It’s causing a lot of turmoil in society.” He is hoping the Trump administration will “wait for evidence and look at both sides.” Throughout Trump’s presidency, Wasylyshyn is hopeful that liaisons with law enforcement will be consulted. “We want the Trump people to call us and say, ‘What’s law enforcement’s side on this?’ We have not had that with the Obama administration.” Wasylyshyn added that he believes it’s Obama’s responsibility to quiet the current protests around the nation over Trump’s election. “I respect people’s right to protest,”…

Human trafficking is a global problem right next door

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When law enforcement breaks down the door in a human trafficking raid, they are not greeted as superheroes with capes by the victims. The teenager forced into domestic servitude, living in a basement, regularly raped, will tell them: “My life is perfect.” That’s also what Russian teachers forced to become strippers would say. And what Honduran and Guatemalan men who worked in a meat packing plant near Buffalo, New York, for seven days a week, 16 hours a day, said, even after asked about stab wounds. What they said was their detention was costing them money, $3.50 a week. “We have victims that aren’t happy to see us,” said Amy Allen, a forensic investigator for Homeland Security Investigation division.  “The first reaction is shock and denial.” Getting the truth out — that the stab wounds are inflicted when they fell asleep, that when they do sleep it’s packed jigsaw like 16 in a room the size of a bathroom – takes a special kind of questioning, one that assumes from beginning that they are victims. Allen has heard over and over. “My life is perfect.” She knows the reasons behind the statement. She knows the experiences that lead up to it. She knows the fear and deprivation that leads to such acceptance. She knows what it takes to ease those fears and get to the truth so maybe they have a chance for a better life. Allen was the first presenter in a symposium on Global Trafficking held Tuesday at Bowling Green State University. The symposium was hosted by the School of Cultural and Critical Studies. In her career Allen has traveled around the world.  Still even she was surprised that trafficking was so pervasive so close to home. That could be as close as the local nail salon or the home next door. Allen said that when she joined Homeland Security eight years ago “I just didn’t have a grasp of the reality that’s right in our backyard.” She recalled a case of a girl in Farmington Hills, Michigan. A neighbor was concerned and called child protection services to no avail. Truancy, which was the original concern, was handled by the police. That was news to the veteran detective, just a few days from retiring, who took the concerned neighbor’s call. The neighbor had talked to the girl who said she was “adopted” by the family and wanted to go to school but had to wait until she spoke English better. Strange since she expressed all this in perfect English. When the detective came to the door, she wouldn’t open it.  Finally she let the detective in and her story slowly emerged. Her family was so impoverished they “could not afford to keep her.” By being “adopted” by this couple who would take her from Cameron to the United States, “she felt she was a relief to her family by accepting this adoption and coming to the United States.” There she did house work and cared for three small children. Her “mother” beat her and her “father” raped her. But Allen said, “she had no outcry because she believed this was her life.” She still wanted to go to school and become a journalist like the glamorous Diana Lewis she saw on TV….