The Times West Virginian

Opinion

December 30, 2012

Police groups must work together for greater good

A few weeks ago, the Harrison County sheriff chose to pull out of the Harrison County Drugs and Violent Crimes Task Force. It left the cities of Clarksburg and Bridgeport with the tough decision of what to do and how to fill the void.

The reason given for the departure was lack of communication.

That’s an all-too-familiar situation here in Marion County, which has been without a formal county-city drug task force for nearly four years now.

Does it mean drugs and violent crimes are rampant in the community? No, we believe the Fairmont Police Department and the Marion County Sheriff’s Department are fighting the good fight against drugs here in Marion County.

Do we think there needs to be an official task force with officers and deputies assigned to it in order to fight drugs and drug trafficking in Marion County?

No, but we need to communicate more effectively.

Case in point, Operation Blue Haze. The one-year undercover sting was a joint operation between the Fairmont Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The investigation recovered 21 firearms and $100,000 worth of drugs. The case yielded pistols, revolvers, rounds of ammunition, ballistics vests, crack cocaine, powder cocaine, marijuana and prescription pills. Those 52 individuals convicted through the investigation are responsible for more than 250 prior arrests.

It was as successful a sting as Fairmont has ever seen, and many repeat offenders, drug dealers and those carrying illegal firearms are off the streets.

The only problem is that Sheriff Joe Carpenter and his deputies were never told about the undercover operation. They knew something was going on because of information from confidential informants.

“We don’t need somebody getting hurt or somebody getting killed because somebody wants the glory of a drug arrest,” Carpenter told the Times West Virginian. “There is no communication. That’s the whole problem.”

Fairmont Police Chief Kelley Moran agrees.

“I’d like to see everybody, not just us and the sheriff’s department but the State Police and all the other smaller towns,” he said. “I’d like to see all of those work together.”

But as Jay Rogers, Fairmont city manager, pointed out, communication can be tough with different personalities trying to work together. He said that “the perfect scenario is to have all departments under one task force in the community,” but knows that not all personalities get along.

“I think we can understand that personalities and differences in philosophies sometimes will not allow that perfect situation to exist,” Rogers said.

So maybe representatives from each agency reporting to the same office every day doesn’t work. But there certainly needs to be a meeting of the minds to discuss how these departments can effectively communicate for the greater good that needs to happen.

Personalities can’t get in the way when it comes to officer and informant safety or the honorable mission of getting drug dealers off the street and drugs out of our community.

Do we need a task force? Maybe not. Do we need all police agencies to work together in some fashion, even if it’s just to let each other know what’s going on and to share critical information and data?

Most certainly.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • If something seems too good to be true, then assume that it is

    Scam. noun. A confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit; swindle.
    This is a word that Marion Countians have heard a lot about in the past few years. And the problem appears to be one that is getting worse every day.

    July 31, 2014

  • State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core

    It’s always nice to have a little bit of background information before diving into something new.
    So we have to agree with West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin when she says the state should have done a better job of explaining Common Core standards when they were first introduced.
    Those standards, part of a national educational initiative that sets learning goals designed to prepare students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college and career, will be fully implemented in every West Virginia school district next month.

    July 30, 2014

  • Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway

    U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.

    July 29, 2014

  • United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project

    The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
    That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.

    July 27, 2014

  • COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard

    I love to talk to readers.
    I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.

    July 27, 2014

  • Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial

    NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
    And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.

    July 25, 2014

  • Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives

    It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
    We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.

    July 24, 2014

  • Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely

    The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
    It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
    It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.

    July 23, 2014

  • Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer

    July 22, 2014

  • Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life

    Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
    And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.

    July 20, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Politics
House Ads