DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Ohio State Patrol Trooper Rachel Simmons survived a fiery crash while on the job in 2004. “After that crash, I came through realizing this is the job I want to do,” she said. “I love this job. ”
Trooper Simmons is with the Piqua post of the Ohio State Patrol. A guardian angel pin is now clipped to her visor at all times. A reminder she says of her faith, and how grateful she is for life and the lives she protects while at work.
Trooper Simmons’ role is unique: she is currently the only female canine handler for OSP. Her focus is specialized on urban criminal patrol. She works with her K-9 partner to reduce drug trafficking here at home.
“My canine partner, his name is Benzo,” said Simmons. “He’s a five-year-old German Shepherd.”
Trooper Simmons is doing what she loves; patrolling the streets she grew up on, but times have changed. Her primary mission is to catch drug dealers and smugglers, the ones at the top of the food chain. “This is an area where we tend to make a lot of arrests for heroin,” she said while parked along a Dayton street. A lot of buyers from Indiana she says, coming here to get their fix. “It’s a main route into Dayton and main route out of Dayton,” she explained. “It’s easy access to 35.”
She sits and watches the traffic pattern. “We’re looking for something that’s out of the ordinary,” she said. “Something that doesn’t belong. A lot of times when the hair on the back of your neck stands up and says something wrong, something’s wrong. I think as a police officer you have to follow that intuition.”
She says dealers can have scouts; counter surveillance on law enforcement. “I don’t know that that Camaro is a scout,” she explained. “I don’t know who’s in that Camaro, but I do know that’s the second time the Camaro has passed us in less than five minutes,” she said.
“Usually, when I’m on a traffic stop I’m looking for stuff that doesn’t make sense, stuff that doesn’t add up.” Trooper Simmons walks Benzo around the free air of a vehicle. He’s able to detect five different narcotics.
She says illicit drug use won’t go away. Instead, she’s driven to keep narcotics out of as many hands as possible, especially the kids. “To keep it from going into our communities, to keep it from going into our elementary schools, to keep if from reaching our youth.”