Wednesday, May 25, 2016

EDITORIAL >> Zero tolerance for meth houses

Cabot Mayor Bill Cypert and the city council last week heard a concerned resident complain about an alleged meth house on Barnwell Drive near Central Elementary School. The mayor reassured her the city will not tolerate drug activity anywhere, especially near schools.

“There are at least five meth houses in my neighborhood and one across the street. The police don’t seem to be doing anything, and I don’t feel safe,” Candi Potter told the mayor and aldermen during the council’s community input section.

“You know it’s a meth house when cars are lined up at all times of the day and night. I’ve even picked up a meth pipe in my front yard. Something needs to be done,” she said.

Potter spent about 10 minutes giving details about problems in the neighborhood. She pleaded, “Please tell me what I can do.” She said Lonoke County Sheriff John Staley has been to the area and made some arrests.

The mayor responded, “We’ve listened, we hear you, and I’m going to give you my cell number. You can call 24/7 if you see a problem and I’ll get the police to check it out. I’ll get something done.”

Police Chief Jackie Davis said his department is aware of some of the activity in the area and has increased patrols. He wasn’t sure about the particular house Potter was referring to, but sat down with her after the meeting to gather additional information.

The mayor suggested forming a neighborhood watch or having a town-hall style meeting with him and the police in a place where neighbors would feel safe to discuss the problem.

The mayor added that fighting drugs has been a tough issue. “We’ve been looking at the budget and the cost of getting a drug dog or setting up a drug task force,” he said.

Much more needs to be done to fight drugs in our communities, but above all, law-enforcement must make a concerted effort against drug making and drug dealing anywhere near our schools. Those should be serious felonies with longterm consequences for lawbreakers.