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Crime debate a positive sign

By Staff
Nov. 22, 2001
Meridian residents Steve Hall and his wife, Beverly, have captured the high ground in the debate over one of the city's most pressing issues neighborhood crime. The debate isn't  and shouldn't be about political posturing or denial that a problem exists. The debate isn't and shouldn't be about criticizing police officers who are working as diligently as they can with the resources the city makes available to them.
The debate is and should be about openly discussing ways to improve the quality of life for all city residents. It's a very positive development in a city where people are sometimes reluctant to speak out and take a stand. We hope hundreds of other Meridian residents begin to express themselves, too.
In a calm, professional presentation to the mayor and city council the other night, the Halls took special care to point out they were advocating more resources for the police department so that officers can be more proactive in the fight against crime. Given the current shortage of manpower, just responding to calls keeps officers on the run.
The Halls are advocating more Neighborhood Watch programs, more citizen participation in the fight against crime, more resources in terms of personnel, higher salaries and equipment. They believe a police chief should be appointed immediately. Their intent is to improve the ability of Meridian police to aggressively and proactively fight crime.
Obviously, 25 minutes at a city council meeting should be just the beginning of a reasoned campaign to resolve these important issues. The most important element is the willingness of the public to step forward and actively participate in the discussions, to tell our elected officials what we think and hold them accountable for actions.
Any one concerned about crime in Meridian should make their voices heard to Mayor John Robert Smith and members of the city council. A consistent, sustained effort over a period of time could be beneficial as city officials begin to make funding decisions for the future.