Pubdate: Wed, 13 Jun 2001
Source: Spartanburg Herald Journal (SC)
Copyright: 2001 The Spartanburg Herald-Journal
Author: Murray Glenn


Listen to Spartanburg County Sheriff's
Investigator Ken Hancock talk about his job for several minutes and it
is not hard to understand why he is concerned about the local drug
scene. The veteran narcotics agent has vivid memories of the night he
and co-workers found a dehydrated teen-age girl lying in a garbage can
behind the Ground Zero night club on Howard Street.

Hancock also sounds like a worried parent when he tells the story
about the time he found $39,000 cash in the jacket pocket of a teen
whose mother worked two jobs to pay the family's bills.

The narcotics investigator believes the anecdotes are examples of what
is happening today in the Spartanburg County drug world.

"It is a never-ending battle and it is not going to go away," Hancock

Statistics from the Sheriff's Office support that statement.

Deputies said the discovery of drugs on county streets is a common
occurrence that appears to be growing.

During the first five months of 2001, deputies investigated 356
different incidents of illegal drug use. For the same time in 2000,
deputies worked 281 cases. Some cases involve multiple arrests. Others
resulted in no arrests.

Investigators attribute the increase to several factors, including a
slow economy, an increased emphasis on the issue by patrol officers
and efforts by deputies to focus on all-night 400- to 500-person dance
parties known as raves.

Hancock addressed some of the recent trends in the drug world during a
recent public meeting at the Spartanburg County Library.

The event drew just four people, but the turnout didn't stop Hancock
from delivering his message.

During his hour-long talk, Hancock showed samples of cocaine,
marijuana, ecstasy and other pills found on local streets. He also
showed how fire extinguishers, soup cans, pacifiers, soda cans and
neon lights are used during the drug trade.

"Adults don't give kids enough credit for being smart," Hancock said
during his presentation. "I could go to any local school and get a kid
out of class who could give this talk tonight. Their knowledge is
first-hand experience."

Phylis Crook said she and her 9-year-old son, Khelsic, enjoyed
Hancock's story.

"It was a good education for us," Crook said.

Crook said she thought the program shed some light on the challenges
her son and other children face when they get older.

The program was part of a series of crime prevention offerings by the
Sheriff's Office. More drug education programs are scheduled near the
start of the new school year, according to Capt. Tim Foster.

"We are trying to tailor our prevention toward what is going on in the
community," Foster said. "Good parents are taking their kids to rave
parties thinking they are harmless."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Derek