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.

Huntington Mayor Steve Williams says he is determined to make a dent in the city’s drug crime.

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.

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Comments

  • larry hammons

    Legalize Hemp, Medical Marijuana and Cannabis!

  • larry hammons

    The war on weed is a total waste of time and money. The media has done a fine,fine job of making the general public believe that marijuana is a gateway drug and it cause peolple to lose there morals and values. Yea, some people do start out on weed but thats not the general rule. I tried almost every thing short of the needle BEFORE I started smoking pot! If it wasnt for marijuana I probably would weigh in at 97 pounds and be in and out of the crisis unit costing average joe tax payer biggie bucks.
    We really need to reconsider the cost on this "war on drugs". Yes, we should be going after meth and herion, the drugs that erase familys and moral human values. When I smoke pot, I love you even more then ever. Now excuse me but I hear cereal and milk calling me....

  • Ras Ible

    The War on Drugs is the cause of most crimes in America, not the drugs.

    When tobacco was banned in the WV prison system in March of 2008, the crime rate in prison skyrocketed to record levels.

    The same cause and effect, can be blamed for our current drug epidemic.

  • Dumb Liberals

    Once you arrive in Huntington, you've arrived at “unmitigated hell”! Dump the community policing program for a start. It's a proven failure. Fire every current politician and you initiate a 100%, ZERO TOLERENCE enforcement of EVERY LAW on the BOOKS. EVERY BOOK!

  • MOCO man

    Giving heroin to addicts and being an enabler is just an absolutely stupid idea..........put them on a chain gang and work the piss out of them then in the evening, return them to their tent city to prepare for the next day of work.......

    • John of Wayne

      What he said.

  • Brett

    Increase the tax base (get more people and businesses to move into town), increase pressure on drug dealers and users, and physically clean up the town and remove buildings that are caving in and housing drug problems.

  • Ron - from Morgantown

    I support the Mayor . Send the cockroaches back to Detroit .

  • Roswell

    You're taking $150,000 from the paving program to pay for this? What makes you think drug dealers are more dangerous than the horrible road conditions? I can approve of this only if you can catch and convict these guys, chain them together, and send them out to fill potholes.

  • Paul James

    Let's be real. The community, indeed the country is not really concerned about the "crime" of drug use, or the drug user, they are concerned as I am about the crimes that this brings to our property and selves.
    Several other countries have solved this by simply giving the heroin to the addicts in a controlled environment. They still have heroin addicts, but they don't have the associated crimes and thefts and because the addicts are supplied clean needles and a place to shoot up, they don't have the cases of AIDS that we have here in the US.
    I don't see the US being this sensible for many years, because there's too much money in law enforcement and ineffective treatment programs, and an unwillingness of the public to see that the drug war is completely made up.
    So what can Huntington and WV do now.
    I'll tell you exactly.
    Enact strict laws on pawn shops, metal dealers, and other avenues to fence stolen goods.
    Currently, there are hardly any laws on scrap metal. You can walk in with the utility lines from your neighborhood, all the copper pipe from the houses and no questions asked and get cash.
    And do it the next day. You can pawn 5 drills a week.
    The motivation for crime surrounding the drug problem is not the drugs, it's the money.
    Also, maybe use those 10 new police officers to come into communities on bikes, foot, or horseback to actually be present in our areas.
    It's hard to get a feel whizzing by in a car.
    Also get them out to speak to the community at local church, neighborhood associations, and teach the community the proper ways it can work with them to help stop crime. NOT drug abuse, that is something for the therapists.
    Could also have the officers do free engraving of tools, equipment, etc.
    I have only been here a few months. And I've already had several hundreds of dollars worth of items stolen from my garage just like others around me.
    I'm also registered to vote.
    This needs to be a war on crime not drugs.
    And it needs to be started at ground level engaging the community in protecting itself not frightening people about drug use.
    Someone shooting up heroin, it's sad, but that only hurts them. But when they steal to get the money to do it, that hurts me and others. And where do they get the money? They get it from pawn shops and scrap metal, and other fencing operations. Crack down on that and you'll have a good deal of this problem licked.

    • Ras Ible

      You have hit it right on the nail head! Kudos Sir!

  • Jason412

    Apparently Mayor Williams thinks he has some magic up his sleeve that no one else in the history of the drug war has thought of.

    He hires 10 more police officers, Detroit will send 100 more dealers. Nothing will change. Maybe a few more people will get arrested, but the drugs will still pour in. It should be blatantly obvious by now the drug war will never be won on the street level.

    • Ras Ible

      Right on!

    • Jonus Grumby

      You may be right, but what's your suggestion?

      • Jason412

        Jonus Grumby,

        My suggestion is not to do the same thing that's been proven to fail over and over for the last 40 years. I do not claim to have all the answers, but I do know a failed policy when I see one.

        "Prohibition has not only failed in its promises but actually created additional serious and disturbing social problems throughout society. There is not less drunkenness in the Republic but more. There is not less crime, but more. ... The cost of government is not smaller, but vastly greater. Respect for law has not increased, but diminished." - H. L. Mencken, 1925

        If you look at the numbers, they continue to drastically increase and no amount of drug war money is changing that. Columbia, the main supplier of heroin and cocaine, to areas East of the Mississippi such as Detroit, has saw a 200% increase in their illegal drug trade in the last 20 years, despite us fighting our War on Drugs not only in our country, but theirs as well. We spend on average $30,000 a year to house a drug offender compared to the just over $11,000 spent per public school student.

        We've spent over 1 trillion dollars on the drug war, have more than half a million drug offenders incarcerated, and have more drugs, drug addicts, and drug cartels than ever before.

        The entire War on Drugs policy needs reformed. However, I'm enough of a realist to know that it wont be any time soon, because it's the meal ticket for far to many people in government.

        • Jonus Grumby

          Jason,

          Thanks for the figures and I have no doubt they are as bad as you say. And you're right, we've been doing it the same way for over 40 years with little to show for the effort.

          I think every logical person understands there is a horrible problem (if you don't believe me, ride along with any paramedic crew or law enforcement officer for a week). But what's an intelligent way to address it?

          Some say legalize it. I'm not convinced that's the answer. Personally, I am not totally opposed for the legalization of marijuana (though I'd like to see how things fare in Colorado or Washington over a period of time). But I'd have deep reservations for the legalization of heroin, meth or cocaine.

          Is education the key? I really can't really say for sure that has made a noticeable difference either, though I doubt it can hurt. Peer pressure often overrides preaching by adults.

          Another problem is people just can't resist taking it on the road or elsewhere, just like alcohol. And let's not even mention what happens when you get kids partaking in these substances. It often screws up their lives be it coke, heroin or even alcohol.

          We seem to be a nation of excess. We are not happy doing things in moderation. We have to do things to the extreme. I think that is at least part of our problem.

          So, I sit here spewing forth lust like the rest, with no logical solution. In the meantime, we keep approaching the situation the same way and our young people continue to ruin their lives with this junk.

      • Grumby's ego

        Kill the supply not the supplier.

        • Jay

          Jason412,

          You make very compelling points. While we seemingly don't agree on all angles of this problem, I'll bet you and I could sit down and hash out an approach that could help Huntington. In my opinion, that's what politics needs - more coming together to take action.

          All the best, sir.

        • Jay

          While this is true, it is the job of a small city mayor to kill the supplier. I applaud Mayor Williams for moving out of the realm of talking and into the realm of action. I hope city council concurs. I don't view this as magic up his sleeve at all. I view this as a mayor doing his job.

          For what it's worth, I do not live in Huntington, nor do I know or have any reason to support Steve Williams. This is the opinion of an outsider looking in. I hope Huntington supports action on the drug front. Small cities cannot sit and wait for the federal government to kill the supply. Not practical.

          • Jason412

            Jay,

            The mayor can continue to kill the supplier, and two will take his place. There will never be a shortage of young kids from Detroit desperate for money. Maybe it's time for small city mayors to address the demand. Without the demand from their small city citizens, residents of Detroit have no reason to travel hundreds of miles to places like Huntington and Charleston.

            If a WV resident wants to go to rehab, they frequently have to wait months on end for a bed, or go to a different state and spend thousands of dollars which most drug addicts certainly don't have.

            But if a WV resident gets caught with a small amount of drugs, we have no problem at all funding the close to $30,000 annually to house them in a prison.

            I agree the Mayor can't wait for the federal government to kill the supply, as that will never happen anyways, but that doesn't mean he has to try the same strategy that has failed for every town and city in America.

  • hillbilly

    Lots of problems would be solved if they would just napalm Detroit...