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W.Va. sheriff’s mission must be carried on

The tragic shooting death of Sheriff Eugene Crum has rocked the rural community he served, but the impact can be felt far beyond the borders of Mingo County, W.Va., an Appalachian region not that different from southern Ohio.

Crum was shot and killed in the small town of Williamson on Wednesday in the middle of day, likely the victim of retaliation for the lawman’s “Operation Zero Tolerance” initiative focused on cracking down on the drug trade.

Crum is just the latest victim in a string of violent attacks against individuals who enforce the law. These include a Texas district attorney and his wife, as well as a Colorado prison director.

This is certainly cause for everyone to pause for a moment of appreciation for those who uphold our laws and consider whether or not enough is being done to protect them.

Law enforcement is a dangerous occupation and all accept that fact when they take the job, but they expect some level of protection for their families and when off duty. They certainly don’t anticipate being gunned down while eating lunch in a public place like Crum was.

We, as a society, must respond to violence like this by standing united and remaining committed to doing whatever it takes to keep our communities safe.

Crum will never be forgotten by his friends and family, but the best way for Mingo County and the state of West Virginia to honor him is by continuing his mission to improve life and crack down on drugs in one of the worst hit regions of the state.

That is what Eugene Crum would have wanted and it is what law-abiding citizens deserve.