Pubdate: Sun, 26 Oct 2003
Source: Appalachian News-Express (KY)
Copyright: 2003 Appalachian News-Express


Before the sun had peeked over the hills Friday morning, Pikeville Police 
Department officers were sweeping through the city rounding up five 
suspected drug dealers.

This and other charges filed earlier in the week were the result of an 
11-month investigation by the department. The people arrested are accused 
of being "street-level" dealers, kind of low on the totem pole in the 
marijuana and OxyContin business. While these and other arrests by the city 
and other law enforcement agencies are a good start, this county's drug 
problem isn't going to go away until we get the people bringing drugs into 
the area. Our streets and our children aren't going to be safe until those 
people are behind bars. That is not meant to demean last week's efforts, 
because every little bit helps.

If we keep chipping away at the drug problem one arrest and one conviction 
at a time, eventually we will win.

But that brings in another point.

If these people who are accused of selling drugs are found guilty, they 
deserve to be punished.

The people of this area deserve to know that these people are not going to 
walk away from the court system with a slap on the wrist.

That is the responsibility of the judges of this county, and it is one that 
should not be taken lightly.

The time of leniency is over. If you are convicted of poisoning our area 
with drugs, you don't deserve to walk our streets.

You should be behind bars. If judges don't punish these people, it 
undermines everything law enforcement officers do in their fight against drugs.

It undermines judges' important role in our society, and it undermines the 
people of this county.

And it sends the message that it's OK to bring drugs into this area. That's 
a message we can't afford to send. Yes, some people, especially drug users, 
can be rehabilitated through programs and Drug Court. But the drug dealers, 
those who put it in others' hands, don't deserve our forgiveness. They 
should be punished.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart