Heroin use is a disturbing new trend on the rise in the city of Berea, according to Berea Police Chief David Gregory.
Gregory outlined some of the strategies the police department is using to combat this growing problem at Tuesday's city council meeting.
“It’s a very dangerous drug, so I want to make you all aware as a community,” Gregory said.
County Coroner and EMS Director Jimmy Cornelison alerted the Madison County Fiscal Court of the heroin-use problem during its February 12 meeting.
The local EMS has treated more heroin overdoses in the past three or four months than ever before, assistant EMS director Carlos Coyle said after the meeting.
“There for a while, we never saw heroin in our county, but it’s here now,” he said.
One strategy the BPD is using to combat heroin is the use of a “street crimes unit” focused on thefts and drugs, Gregory said. By putting foot patrols in areas with high crime rates for thefts and targeting known drug dealers in the community, he hopes to eliminate the problem, he said.
“The heroin is traveling down Interstate 75 from Detroit and making its presence in our community,” he said. The drug can be very cheap and very addicting, he added.
“The officers are working very diligently to try to stop this; they’re concerned with their community, they care about it,” Gregory said. “We’re actually trying to take the drug dealer’s money and seize their property and do the best that we can to stop this from coming into our community.”
On a related note, the city adopted first reading of an ordinance allowing the police department to participate in an area drug task force.
The city was part of a drug task force in 2008, but it was disbanded last year because of lack of funding and participation. But, it’s back again with a grant through the state Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, Gregory said.
The city of Berea will join Winchester, Clark County, Jackson County, Madison County and Irvine in the task force. Richmond is involved in another drug task force out of Lexington, he said.
“It’s a good thing. (It) provides a lot of asset forfeitures, hopefully to our police department,” he said. “I know when we were on it, federally we got about $40,000 in our drug account.”
Last week the police department did a search of Madison Southern High School using their newest recruit, the K-9 unit Panko, Gregory said.
“I think there was some illegal narcotics that were found. The school handled it along with the SRO (school resource officer),” he said.
The new K-9 unit has done very well since he joined the force, Gregory said. He has participated in a lot of drug seizures. In 2012, police conducted almost 2,000 more traffic stops than in 2011 using Panko.
“He’s been very proactive in stopping drugs,” he said.
The chief also urged those interested in starting a Neighborhood Watch program to call 986-8456 or check out the city's website www.bereaky.gov to learn how (click on "For Residents" and "Police Department").
“So as a citizen then, I probably should be more active in terms of observing my neighborhood and reporting suspicious behavior that I see,” said council member Virgil Burnside.
K-9 added to police force
- Local News
White Hall Elementary kindergarten teacher Ashley Sawyer gives goodbye hugs to her students Kendra Taylor and Taylor Copenhaver on the last day of school. Also pictured is Sam Snyder.
White Hall teachers say farewell for the summer
White Hall Elementary kindergarten assistant Patti Von Fischer said she found a poem on the Internet that seemed to fit the last day of school perfectly.
“The teachers jumped out of the windows; the principals ran for the door; the nurse and librarian bolted; they’re not coming back anymore,” Von Fischer read over the loudspeaker Friday before students left for the summer.
Benson will be state’s third highest paid university president
When Michael Benson begins his tenure as the 12th president of Eastern Kentucky University on Aug. 1, his $400,000 salary plus benefits will make him Kentucky’s third-highest paid state university president.
Benson’s pay will be less only than that of Eli Capilouto, president of the University of Kentucky, $500,000 a year, and Gary Ransdell, president of Western Kentucky University, $423,588 a year, according to figures obtained from the state Council on Post-secondary education.
Richmond post troopers recognized at annual ceremony
The Kentucky State Police announced the 2012 Trooper of the Year, Detective of the Year, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer of the Year and other awards for acts of bravery, life-saving, professionalism and dedication to duty Friday at the Capital Plaza Hotel in Frankfort.
Second-grade classroom receives recognition for reading nearly 1,400 books
A project at Mayfield Elementary School has received recognition across state lines from a woman who found a balloon released in celebration of one classroom having read more than 1,000 books.
Second-grade teacher Wanda Wilson started the school year by challenging her 22 students to read a total of 1,000 books by the end of the school year.
Pets of the Week
This week's cat is an 8-week-old female kitten. This week's dog is 1-year-old Nicki, a spayed female who does not care for horses, according to her previous owner.
- White Hall teachers say farewell for the summer
TRACK: Middle school athletes set for state meet
Last weekend, track athletes from Madison County's four high school's had their chance to compete against the state's best in the KHSAA State Track Championships at the University of Louisville.
OVC: BASEBALL: Colonels hold off SEMO, advance to final three
Despite holding a nine-run lead, the Eastern Kentucky University baseball team had to hold off a Southeast Missouri State rally for a 12-9 victory in an elimination game at the 2013 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Friday in Jackson, Tenn.
The No. 5 seeded Colonels are one of the final three teams remaining.
YOUTH LEAGUES: Signups for leagues underway
The Richmond Little League will begin sign-ups for this year’s fall season on Saturday, June 1 from 10 a.m. to noon.
Sign-ups are also scheduled for Monday, June 3 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, June 8 from 10 a.m. to noon.
- TRACK: Middle school athletes set for state meet
- Lifestyles & Community
Father/Daughter Dance is June 14 at RAAC
Dads and daughters will take to the dance floor Friday, June 14, for the second annual Father/Daughter Dance to benefit the Hope’s Wings Domestic Violence Program.
The ball will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Richmond Area Arts Center, 399 W. Water St.
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- Rain, hot weather will make lawns, gardens grow
- Father/Daughter Dance is June 14 at RAAC
It is that time of year again.
Some years ago, I was invited to speak at the graduation ceremonies of a liberal arts college. Later, many in the audience told me they expected a very political speech. Some of them were relieved; others were disappointed. I don't do politics at graduation.
Graduation is about life.
My high school graduation was OK. I gave a speech. My family was there, intact, probably as happy as they ever were (But did I know?). We went out for Chinese food afterward.
- Coal problem worth tackling in Washington and Frankfort
- Peter Perlman — Life lessons from a lawyer’s lawyer
- Graduation Day