The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

January 10, 2013

Superheroes

Grateful for law enforcement, civic leaders, citizens who work to keep our communities safe


— In the world of entertainment and fantasy, crime-fighting is left for the superheroes like Superman, Batman or Spiderman.

But in reality, a community must come together with law enforcement to do all it can to stop crime.

At the Rotary meeting held in Beckley this week, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin discussed how his office is working to solve crime problems in southern West Virginia.

He also stressed the importance of the help received from leaders in the community.

Goodwin pointed to three important steps in fighting crime:

— Being proactive.

— Constantly adapting.

— Finding solutions outside of law enforcement.

Preventing crimes has been one key focus of late.

In our region, prescription pill abuse has made crime rates, and drug-related deaths, jump significantly.

Goodwin’s office has successfully prosecuted nearly 200 drug dealers, but he warns that the state is still in crisis mode.

One program that has made an impact in a positive way for the prescription drug problem is “Take Back Days.”

It’s getting pills off the streets by taking unused or unwanted pills out of the medicine cabinets of homes.

That’s been a big help.

Many homes, especially of the elderly, have become targets of criminals wanting to get their hands on pills — at any cost. Many home invasions have been found to be rooted at gaining access to pills.

Unbelievably sad, and sometimes tragic.

But now our elderly are less vulnerable because of these proactive measures.

In addition, Goodwin suggests that we also identify addicts that need help, and get them help.

“It doesn’t get better without intervention,” he said.

“By identifying problems and communicating concerns to law enforcement, we can make serious strides,” Goodwin added.

Our hope is that crime, and drug abuse, will see a dramatic decline in the coming months.

With everyone coming together and working towards that goal — it’s possible.

We’re grateful for law enforcement, community leaders and active citizens that are involved in establishing effective programs that keep us safer and more informed.

They are the real superheroes.