HPD continuing efforts to tackle drug problem
by Cris Ritchie
Officers with the Hazard Police Department last week continued their efforts to put a clamp on the local drug trade while continuing to look to the community for help.
The department’s entire day shift, along with an officer from Alcoholic Beverage Control and detectives from Operation UNITE and the Kentucky State Police, took a couple hours on Friday to walk from door to door at the apartments at Walkertown to speak with residents and attempt to gain information about any possible drug activity in the area.
Chief Minor Allen said the department’s presence in Walkertown was a result of numerous complaints made to authorities, and their efforts did result in arrests. Two people were arrested on outstanding warrants, while a third person was found to be driving under the influence of drugs.
“We’ve had several complaints of drug activity from at least three different residences that we’re aware of at this time, and numerous noise complaints and things going on in the neighborhood,” Allen said.
Police also made an arrest in the Walkertown community earlier last week on charges of drug trafficking after tips led authorities to obtain a warrant. Though officers didn’t have enough information for a warrant for Friday’s activity, Allen said there were enough tips coming into the department to warrant officers knocking on doors.
“Based on the number of complaints that we’ve received, I though it warranted us going down today and just talking to some residents on those two streets,” he said.
At one apartment, after they were given consent to search, officers located a firearm, which is against the Housing Authority’s policy to own inside the residence. They also located suspected drug paraphernalia as well.
“From that point, we did a neighborhood canvas, talked to everybody we could, listened to their concerns about drug activity in the neighborhood,” Allen noted.
Allen described Friday’s activity as part of a campaign the department is undertaking to tackle the drug problem, and he expects to return to the area based on the nature and number of complaints received.
But so far, he added, he is also satisfied with his initiative to get the community involved by informing law enforcement about issues such as drug activity in their neighborhoods. He said the department’s officers are buying into the system and the community response has been heavy.
“I think that a lot of people’s just fed up with dealing with people living next to them that’s dealing drugs,” Allen continued. “I appreciate the help that we have received. It’s definitely rolling in the right direction.”
Officers with HPD will also be hosting their second community meeting next week, this time in the cafeteria of Roy G. Eversole Middle School on Broadway. The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 28 at 6 p.m.
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