The Ohio Attorney General, in response to an inquiry on the power of any County Sheriff during a snow or weather-related emergency, gave an opinion as to what the Ohio Revised Code says in that regard. The opinion reads that the Sheriff may declare a "snow emergency" and temporarily close any township, county or state road within his jurisdiction for the preservation of public peace.
This decision will come after consulting with the CountyEMA (Emergency Management Agency), elected officials, the County Engineer, ODOT and on-duty deputies. A Snow Emergency has three levels...
Level 1 - A Level One Snow Emergency means that roads (township and county, mainly secondary) are hazardous with the possibility of blowing and drifting snow. Roads are icy and drivers should use caution, if they choose to drive.
Level 2 - A Level Two Snow Emergency means that roads are hazardous (including primary roads) with blowing and drifting snow a possibility. Only those who feel it is necessary to drive should be on these roadways. Employees should contact their employers to see if they should report to work.
Level 3 - A Level Three Snow Emergency means that roads are closed to all non-essential personnel. No one should be out during these conditions unless it is absolutely necessary to travel. All employees should contact their employer to see if they should report to work. Those traveling on any roadway in the county may subject themselves to citation or arrest.
The decision to call any of the above levels is a specific and difficult one. The Sheriff makes the initiative based on information he and his designees gather. These decisions shall be given to all local media. Please do not call the Sheriff's Office or 9-1-1 during such emergencies, listen to your favorite radio station for information. If they do not have the information, or are not giving it out, change to another station. The Sheriff will immediately announce when conditions have downgraded and the level changes.