Drug war needs voters#039; attention, concern

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 6, 2003

Tribune editorial staff

Local law enforcement agencies have encountered some tight budgets in recent years.

However, the criminals in the county have not been taking a break until the coffers fill back up.

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Three armed robberies in recent weeks have taken place in the county. While we are certain the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office is acting upon all leads and pursuing each of the cases, no assailants have been arrested.

In fact, Sheriff Tim Sexton has asked for the help of the community in bringing these criminals to justice. He has publically asked anyone with information to contact his office -- anonymously if they wish.

Meanwhile, the Ironton Police Department has moved an officer from street patrol to investigations to keep up with the increasing number of criminal cases. Officer Jim Akers has been assigned to investigate cases that do not involve drugs to free up Capt. Chris Bowman to devote his time to probe drug-related crimes.

This comes at a time when the police department is projected to be $19,132 over budget. Some of that overrun has been attributed to paying officers overtime for investigations of drug-related crimes.

In both cases, it is supply versus demand -- the supply of law enforcement officers is not abundant enough to meet the demand of the community, notably the number of crimes.

Chances are, the budget woes are not going to go away any time in the near future. Conversely, the crime rate is probably not going to drop -- it is more likely to increase.

With this in mind, we need to support our law enforcement agencies and give them all of the help we can. A simple tip can be the big break our officers need to crack open a crime and put an assailant behind bars.

We encourage everyone to report any suspicious activities to authorities. It is the duty of our law enforcement agencies to protect us, but it is our duty to help them accomplish this.