Chief Minor Allen led the first meeting in Lothair on February 13, urging local citizens to report any criminal activity, but also report any issues they may be having in their neighborhood. Last week’s meeting on February 28 at Roy G. Eversole Middle School followed much the same format, but was geared to address concerns of residents living in the Backwoods.
HPD Major James East said it is imperative for members of the local community to get involved in reporting criminal activity to authorities, because often times they know more about what is going on their neighborhood than members of the police department.
“You know what’s going on in your community,” East said. “If you recognize or see unusual activity, pick up the phone and call us. It can be an anonymous tip.”
A major part of the department’s effort, which they are terming a street-to-street campaign, is attempting to tackle the drug problem which resides mainly with prescription pills. The department currently has one officer assigned to deal exclusively with drug complaints, and Allen said he has seen some success during the short time he has served as chief.
He did note, however, that he believes a problem other cities and counties are already dealing with will likely make its way into Hazard as a major issue in the coming year.
“It’s no longer going to be pills, it’s going to be meth that we’re dealing with,” he said, adding that several meth labs were busted in neighboring Knott County last month, and that just on Monday of last week officers in Hazard entered a residence where they suspected a meth lab had been active.
“As everybody knows, pills are the big issue that is concerning us right now,” Allen said. “That’s going to change in the next year or year and a half.”
In the meantime, however, both Allen and East added that the department will quickly move to investigate any tip they receive, but they need information first. Once they receive that information they can follow up, and either obtain a warrant or perform a knock and talk, where officers physically visit the residence and speak with whomever may be living there.
“All we want to know is what’s happening, where it’s happening, and we will investigate it,” East explained. “If somebody’s selling dope in the local neighborhood, we’re going to that house and we’re going to make their lives miserable.”
Allen added that he would like to begin a neighborhood watch program in Hazard, and also described a public safety committee made up of local residents in which they can relay to authorities the issues in each community, whether they be issues with drugs or anything else.
“I want to legitimately help you any way I can possible help you,” he said.
The department will hold their next meeting on Monday, March 12 at 6 p.m. at the cafeteria of Walkertown School.
You can relay a tip to the Hazard Police Department by calling 436-2222, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.