HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Huntington Mayor Steve Williams is on a mission. He is determined to crack down on drug crimes in his city. However, he said he can’t do it without more man power. That’s why he went to city council last week.
“What I asked city council to do is authorize the hiring of 10 additional police officers so that we can step up our neighborhood tactical force to begin disrupting the drug trade within the neighborhoods,” stressed Williams.
The city already has several task forces and agencies in place to deal with drugs. The neighborhood tactical force would focus in on individual neighborhoods where a police presence is most needed. He explained it’s time to take back the streets from drug dealers and addicts.
“(We’re) sending a message very clearly to these drug pushers that unmitigated hell is going to come down upon them. If they’re looking to do business, either they leave Huntington or they stay and we’re going to be stopping them, arresting them and putting them in prison,” said the mayor.
For years the city has been dealing with the Detroit to Huntington drug trade. Williams said it will take a team effort to put a stop to it.
“We will continue to have the multi-agency task forces but we’re also going to have a tactical force working in our neighborhoods to stomp on these roaches who have infected our city!”
How do you pay for 10 new officers? Williams said it calls for some movement of money. He proposed taking $350,000 out of the city’s insurance account and $150,000 from the paving program. He stressed the city must be made a safe place to live and this is the way to do it.
“This is not a two week or a two month program. This is a permanent way of changing the way we do business in the city of Huntington,” said the mayor.
The Huntington Police Department currently has 111 police officers. Williams hopes to up that to 121 as soon as possible.