Police Department targeting illicit drug, criminal activity

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By David Meade

The Williamston Police Department is cracking down on suspected drug dealers and drug houses in the town. Police Chief Tony Taylor said the department recently implemented a strategy to combat crime in the community which includes increased patrols and law enforcement operations.

“We have received several complaints from our residents regarding illegal activity in our community,” Chief Taylor said. “The Williamston Police Department recognizes that illicit drug activity and associated crime greatly impact the community. Such illegal activity directly impacts each citizen’s standard of living and quality of life.”

Taylor said the department has adjusted manpower to concentrate on high crime areas in order reduce, and hopefully rid the community, of illicit drug and criminal activity.

“In the last three weeks we have made tremendous efforts to rid our community of drugs,” Chief Taylor said. “With limited resources, we have shut down three locations and charged the suspects with Operating a Drug House and various other charges.”

Chief Taylor said his officers have seized a cache of weapons and an estimated $2,000 in methamphetamine.

Taylor said support from the community is key in dealing with illicit drug and criminal activity.

“Law enforcement cannot be successful alone. We need the community’s support.”

As part of their strategy, the department has sent out letters to residents in the community advising them of plans for law enforcement.

“We are sending notices to advise our law abiding citizens and residents that the Williamston Police Department is concerned with their well being and quality of life,” Taylor said. “Our increased enforcement is only intended to remove the criminal element from your neighborhoods and not to inconvenience you in any way.”

Chief Taylor added, “Please know and understand that in order to catch bad people, sometimes we have to temporarily stop good people when we are allowed to do so under the law.”

Taylor said the department will be taking specific steps by enforcing current town ordinances related to drug activity including Loitering to Engage in Drug Activity and Operating a Drug House.

“We will be removing persons we know are engaged in drug activity from the roadway and street corners. (Town Ordinance of Loitering to Engage in Drug Activity)

Taylor said officers will also identify persons with a criminal past of drug dealing, those that run on sight of police, and those that posture themselves in a drug dealing fashion, and place them on notice not to return to the area.

“Those that return and do not heed the warnings will be arrested under the ordinance,” Chief Taylor said.

Persons residing in rental properties and landlords are also being placed on notice.

“Those who knowingly allow drugs to be consumed or sold from their residence or a property that they own will be charged with Operating a Drug House,” he said.

Chief Taylor said Williamston Police officers are vested with the right to place problem persons on trespass notice from Housing Authority property.

“Persons who do not heed the notices will be arrested for trespassing,” he said. “If any person residing in rental property is arrested for a criminal violation, the individual’s landlord will be notified of all criminal charges.

Chief Taylor asked the community to assist the Williamston Police Department in providing information regarding illegal activities.

Anyone with information or tips can call the Williamston Police Department at 864-847-4012 or by email to williamstonpolicedepartment@gmail.com

Anyone with an emergency should call 911.