Patrols can help war on drugs
Published 4:19 am Wednesday, January 24, 2007
That's the second paragraph of an anonymous letter The Standard received last week praising the Brewton Police Department and Chief Monte McGougin for the new street patrols officers are conducting in certain neighborhoods.
As a general rule, we don't publish anonymous letters. Often they refer to personal disputes or use language that is inappropriate or libelous. And I'm a big believer that you need to stand behind what you write.
But this letter was different - this was a person with experience, someone who might fear repercussions if his or her name was published. When reporter Lisa Tindell wrote a story recently about the new street patrols, she encountered similar feelings when she tried to interview residents in the neighborhoods officers were now patrolling. They were thrilled with their new neighborhood beat cops, but they were afraid to speak out - afraid of what might happen to them if they did.
That's why I'm so proud of the Brewton police for their new patrols, and I hope if they prove successful and effective that the city council can find a way for those patrols to continue. As it is, Chief McGougin is using overtime hours for the patrols, and the money is going to run out sometime.
Of course, it's not enough for our police officers and sheriff's department to take all of the responsibility for fighting the drug problem. We have to find ways to make sure that our children are educated about the dangers. Just because you don't live in the neighborhoods where drugs are being sold doesn't mean you and your family are not susceptible to the problem of drug abuse.
The war on drugs is monumental, and it won't be over just because one small town puts a few police officers on a walking police beat in the neighborhoods where drug transactions are more prevalent. But that kind of community action - especially if it is backed by city leaders and citizens - can be a tipping point for our community. The old saying is that dirty people are not attracted to clean neighborhoods, and this is one way to help clean up our community.
Kerry Whipple Bean is publisher of The Brewton Standard. She can be reached at 867-4876 or by e-mail at email@example.com.