The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Our Readers Speak

May 25, 2013

Our Readers Speak — Saturday, May 25, 2013

Positive has come from alleged meth lab

The recent event of an alleged meth lab located next to the East Beckley Police Precinct was an eye opener for the City of Beckley. This was aired on the Jay Leno Show.

However, what this revealed was the fact that the absence of police presence at the station gave them the thought that they would be safe in breaking the law. Fortunately, with the concern of citizens and the fast action of the police drug unit this potential situation that could have resulted in a devastating event was addressed.

There was a possibility of this exploding, and the pollution of the ingredients that are used to make the drug could have resulted in contamination of the house. These people had brought a baby from birth into the house. There is an elementary school located less than 300 feet of the house, not to mention the closeness of other residential homes.

What were they thinking, not? They were not thinking at all, only to make money and not of the people whose lives were in danger. Things like this you would not imagine could ever happen, at least at this location. Well, it did, and as one person stated that they had stupid written on their forehead. I call it pure ignorance. I can now rest assured that at this house it will not happen again for several reasons.

This resulted as an embarrassing incident for the Beckley Police; as a negative, a positive has resulted from this. I met with Chief Tim Deems a few days afterward and discussed my concerns, as well as those of others, to the scarceness of the presence of police officers in the building. At a brainstorming meeting I suggested to place their training officer, Lt. J. Corey, at this precinct. There he could have training, workshops, whatever for the police officers and there definitely would be a presence of officers there.

It was said to place a police cruiser there on the premise; it happened, but like noticing that the car was not moved. Chief Deems acted upon my suggestion and now has turned that negative around into a positive. The SARA model that he spoke of in the paper, I too have training with that model program, where community and police work together. This has been proven in other cities around the nation and it works. Citizens have the power to make major changes within their neighborhood. Crime Watch Neighborhood and Crime Stoppers groups and just plain citizens, just picking up the phone and calling, it will make neighborhoods safer. If property owners alone would do more background checks on people they rent to, it would greatly help eliminate this burden in communities.

I would like to commend those who wrote articles to the editor about this situation and others who expressed concerns and thoughts about the presence of the alleged meth lab. Also thanks again to Chief Deems for acting upon my advice in manning the station. I know by far that this will not rid the community of drug problems, but in fact it would give a great relief to the citizens in this area that the police are close by.

I am more than aware of the problem in our wards, this city, this state and our nation as being one to be involved with the MUSTER Project for the past 23 years with local, state and federal affiliations. Only with wisdom and understanding of knowledge along with prayers can we overcome this burden.

Arnold Lee Leftwich



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