The people speak on crime in Meridian
Nov. 21, 2001
No one should mistake the intensity of the message delivered very effectively Tuesday night by courageous residents of Meridian to their mayor and council. Crime is a real problem. People are worried about their personal safety. "We have a city emergency," said resident Beverly Hall.
Beverly Hall, her husband, Steve, and Tom Hayden, a former Lauderdale County sheriff's deputy, told the mayor and council they are fed up with the high rates of burglaries, robberies and drug deals.
Their message is that we all need to work together to take back our streets. The first step is to honestly face the fact that crime is a problem and the next steps involve restoring the ability of the police to do their jobs.
Officers in the Meridian Police Department need a chief to lead them, a chief who will listen to the people, be attentive to their needs, and not be a servant of any single elected official. Police need more resources to do the community law enforcement job that is expected of them. They need the freedom to take proactive approaches instead of just reacting to emergency needs. In short, they need leadership.
Perhaps it's time to examine the basic quality of life issues that have fallen on deaf ears lately. Surely, fighting crime and is one of them.
We hope city officials get the constructive, positive message delivered so eloquently by the Halls and Hayden last night, and we hope they immediately take constructive, positive actions to remedy the problems.