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Sending A Message -- But Will It Stick?
November 27, 2009 - Joe Gorman
It was hard not to miss the fact that a message was being sent to Warren's criminal element during a series of raids Wedensday at five different locations on places selling heroin.
Over 100 cops from 13 different agencies hit the streets in a show of force and if you take the Elm Road N.E. location out of the equation and concentrate on the southwest and northwest sides of town, there were over 80 cops crammed into an area probably not larger than five square miles.
But what message, exactly, was being sent?
Trumbull County Sheriff Thomas Altiere, city police Chief Tim Bowers and councilman and police supporter Bob Dean said the message was to the bad guys, and they wanted them to stay away.
That's all fine and dandy. But what happens six months from now?
I've covered a lot of these things before. Lots of cops and other bigshots get together, make a big splash, pose and talk tough for the cameras and disappear. Six months later, most of those arrested are out on bail or have plea bargained their felonies to misdeameanors and if they're not back in the streets selling drugs, someone else is there taking their place.
But something is better than nothing. Since I've been in Warren, all I've heard from administrations, both in government and in the police department, is what the department CAN NOT do. I understand there are budget and manpower limitations. But how about focusing on what they CAN do? I honestly sometimes think they hold planning meetings and decide what they can't do first, other than the other way around.
The cooperation of the other agencies is a good thing, but it also makes sense. They may be selling the drugs here, but a lot of the users are from other places in Mahoning and Trumbull counties, and they'll commit crimes in their home communities so they can get their fix here in Warren.
So what's the message? I sure as heck don't know. But to me, we should all tune back in six months from now. It might be a little easier to read the tea leaves then.
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