Monday, August 24, 2009

Law Enforcement agencies work together to protect Rolla community

Normally I like to use this column to discuss the many outstanding things that make Rolla one of the top places to live and work in the Country. However, I feel that this week I should discuss a very serious problem we have in our community -- the use and sale of illegal drugs.
As you may have been reading in the Rolla Daily News, the largest drug operation to ever occur in the state of Missouri recently took place in Phelps County with some 130 warrants being issued. The drug operations were executed in three phases due to the manpower needs to execute such an effort and the fact that the Phelps County Jail is somewhat limited in size considering the normal prison population.
I wish to thank our Prosecuting Attorney Cortney George and our Judges for forming a grand jury to review the evidence and issue the warrants. I also wish to thank and extend my personal gratitude to the men and women of the Rolla Police Department, the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Troop I, the South Central Missouri Drug Force and the law enforcement officers of the U.S.
Forest Service.
I especially want to thank the undercover narcotics officers for their relentless efforts. They are certainly the ‘Airborne Rangers’ of the operation.
I also want to make it clear to everyone that our war on drugs is not over and will not be over as long as I am Mayor. The bottom line is very simple – those individuals who sell drugs need to stay out of our City and out of our County.
I ask our citizens to be observant and if you notice suspicious activity of any kind, whether in neighboring residences, park properties or private parking lots and businesses, to please contact the Rolla Police Department, the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department or the Missouri State Highway Patrol. It will require a concerted effort of our citizens, law enforcement and the court system to eradicate this ongoing problem.
Of particular concern to me is that some of the people who have been arrested are addicted to drugs, and because of their addiction they are unable to attain or retain meaningful employment. In turn they may choose to sell illegal drugs in order to support their habit and in some cases even turn to other criminal activities.
These unfortunate people will do jail time and then when released will have no where to turn. This situation leaves few alternatives other than returning to their addiction and same illegal activities. It is a hopeless, endless circle that in some instances, sadly, affects other family members and innocent children. Consequently, we must address this issue through every means possible.
In closing, I want to personally thank the efforts of all the law enforcement agencies and personnel involved in this operation for their unending efforts. It has been a humbling experience for me to observe the coordinated cooperation between all of the agencies involved. I can tell you one thing, when a call for assistance goes out, it comes!
I ask that when you see a law enforcement officer or any public safety officer that you give them a friendly wave. And when you see them in public, simply say “Thank You”!

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