Friday, July 22, 2011

Impact of drug activity can be far reaching

The far reaching impact that the illegal use of drugs and drug-related activity can and does have on a community is something the City of Rolla, Rolla Police Department, neighboring law enforcement agencies, judicial agencies and numerous social, religious, mental health and educational entities continue to take very seriously.
Rolla Police Chief Mark Kearse, Lt. Doug James, and the RPD command staff have done a tremendous job forming the Community Action Team (CAT) that meets on a regular basis to network, discuss ideas, and formulate strategies to best address the drug related problems that continue to pose a threat to the quality of life we have come to enjoy as Rolla residents. In addition, SSgt. Rick Williams and Vince Giacolone, VIPS (Volunteers in Police Service) Director, continue to strengthen the City’s Neighborhood Watch program that is an integral component of the CAT and the City’s ongoing efforts to address and minimize drug related activity in our community. I have personally attended several of the CAT meetings, and can attest to the positive steps forward that have been made by this concerned, determined and conscientious group of people.
Through the efforts of Chief Kearse, the City now has a full-time Housing Officer who works closely with the Rolla Housing Authority to ensure that any illegal drug related activity is addressed, monitored and that offenders are identified in a timely manner. In addition, the newly formed Street Narcotics Unit has been very successful in identifying and apprehending several drug users and offenders since it was formed. In plain English, the City of Rolla and Rolla Police Department, together with the assistance of other law enforcement agencies in the region, are clamping down on drug abuse and drug users who are adversely impacting Rolla and Phelps County’s quality of life. With several successful drug apprehensions and arrests over the past two years, Rolla and other law enforcement agencies working in unison, are sending out a message to those individuals who use or distribute illegal drugs, who are considering moving to the area, that not only is Rolla the wrong place to start a life of illegal drug activity and abuse, but that we have the systems, networks and resources in place to counter illegal drug use and distribution. And when you look at the number and frequency of Heroin and Meth related arrests, overdoses, drug seizures, meth lab seizures and drug related criminal activity and arrests made over the past few years in Rolla – you will have to admit that something more serious and drastic needed to be done to address the growing illegal drug problem in the Rolla area.
By reaching out broadly to many sectors of the community, including mental health experts, community leaders, religious leaders, the law enforcement community and judicial community, a wide net has been cast to help the City better cope with, understand and identify ways to battle the ongoing illegal drug problem that has been compared to a Cancer that can run rampant through a community. It is my hope and the hope of the Rolla City Council, the CAT, and Rolla Police Department, that with the continued support, education and awareness of the greater Rolla community, we can continue to make the necessary steps to help eradicate illegal drug use and distribution in our City. The use of illegal drugs, whether it be through usage, manufacturing, trafficking or distribution, is something that cannot and will not be tolerated in the City of Rolla – and I hope you will join me on the war on drugs that is threatening the very fabric of the Rolla community, our institutions, our way of life, and the neighborhoods where you and your children and children’s friends and neighbors live and work every day.
Some residents have eagerly volunteered to place educational signs in their yards stating that illegal drug use will not be welcomed or tolerated in Rolla, others have become more active in their Neighborhood Watch groups, and yet others have become a fan of the Rolla Police Department’s Facebook page or taken the time to report suspicious activity or a potential crime in progress. There are many ways to help combat the war on drugs, other than those I have mentioned above, but one of the most effective methods of combating it is to educate our residents, let them know we do have a drug problem in Rolla, we are taking many proactive steps to address it, we are sending a message outside the Rolla community that it will not be tolerated, and most of all, it will take the entire community’s help to prevent illegal drug use and abuse from taking a further toll on Rolla’s health and well being.
In closing, I’d like to remind the community that the City’s Street Department is in the process of asphalt micro-surfacing several streets in the City. The area will include all streets in Rolla south of 10th Street to Missouri Highway 72, and east of Forum Drive and Pinetree Road. It will also include the Johnson/Laird sub division. Micro-surfacing is an economical alternative to hot asphalt mix overlays, which typically applies a minimum of two inches of pavement resurfacing.
A complete list of streets scheduled for micro-surfacing and a detailed map are posted on the City of Rolla’s Website at For regular updates on road closures and construction schedules, please contact the Public Works Department at 364-8659 or visit
Have a safe week!

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