Eight local police departments and the state police collaborated on a two-month investigation of area gambling businesses and shut them down. But police cannot provide any information about what led to the investigation, we find out later, because the complaints they received were from people who did not want to be identified.
That reasoning ought to give every citizen pause: Police raid area businesses based on secret complaints.
Law enforcement agencies are charged with upholding the laws of the state, and we understand that Ohio's gambling laws are archaic, confusing and out-of-date. That puts law enforcement in the very difficult position of enforcing disjointed rules that allow the state to sponsor gambling through lotteries and also allow some businesses to benefit from the vice while others cannot.
But dedicating extensive manpower to a lengthy investigation based on anonymous complaints -- where it remains unclear who was victimized -- strikes us as a waste of resources given the number of unsolved real crimes where real victims are robbed of health, wealth and life. It also sets a dangerous precedent of allowing police action without a clear and convincing purpose or need.
In Ohio it is also illegal for a bartender to serve alcohol to an intoxicated patron. We suspect that this law is broken routinely in bars and taverns throughout the area. Will the police now be shutting down these businesses if they receive anonymous complaints? Will they be selective in which businesses are allowed to stay open and which are closed?