|WCSI Local News|
Mayor Kristen Brown and a number of other Columbus officials attended a public meeting Tuesday night at the Eastside Community Center.
"This meeting is an opportunity to have an open dialog with our residents to hear their thoughts and concerns," Mayor Brown said. "We want to work with them to ensure their neighborhood is a safe place they can proudly call home."
The meeting was sparsely attended, but those who did show up shared their concerns with city officials. One area that everyone in attendance agreed is a problem is drugs. Residents were especially vocal about alleged drug activity taking place at Morningside Park and surrounding streets.
Columbus Police Chief Jason Maddix spoke with residents for about an hour, sharing concerns, frustrations and tips about how to deal with the problem. Maddix agreed that there are those in the area that have little respect for the law and their neighbors, but he urged residents to not give up. He said residents need to call the police when they see something suspicious, regardless of the number.
"If you guys just close the door and don't call us, then they've won," said Maddix of the alleged area drug dealers and criminals.
Maddix says that in the first six months of this year, Columbus Police have made nearly 300 drug arrests. He says 194 of those arrests were performed by regular, uniformed officers. Another 100 arrests were the result of undercover officers.
Maddix says that he expects more success in the future, as he has implemented special task forces aimed at known and suspected drug dealers. These officers spend their shifts strictly on drug investigations and will not get called away for regular calls that can be handled by other officers. Chief Maddix indicated that by concentrating police pressure on these individuals, they will eventually either be arrested or leave town.
Maddix noted that despite the meeting's low attendance, he received a number of tips that can help in building a case. He again stressed the need for partnership between police and the community. He added that community members are the eyes and ears of the Columbus Police Department. Maddix added the police department's message to residents is simple: "Be persistent."
Last Updated: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 7:37:39 AM
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