Sunday, October 28, 2007

"Letter To The Editor Responses"

Below are responses to the Letter To The Editor at the Kingsport Times-News from Thursday, October 25, 2007, noting that drug dealers have moved out of Riverview to another part of the city..
First the letter, then the responses:

Drug problem rampant in Highland

Illegal drugs are rampant in an area of Kingsport. Dealers work the streets with seeming impunity, often in plain sight of the high school. Their clients range from school kids to the upwardly mobile, middle-aged professionals.
Drug arrests are up by 30 percent over this time last year — not bad for a department that still does not have enough personnel. But these statistics do little to ease the fears and frustrations of citizens in the Highland area.
When residents are afraid to go out after dark because “they” are out there; when mothers have to walk their yards every morning to check for needles and other paraphernalia before allowing their children to go out; when those mothers worry all day that their children will be accosted on the way to and from school, we have a problem.
Increased police presence would obviously help suppress the problem, but that is hardly a solution.
Highland needs to take a lesson from Riverview. In the 15 years I patrolled the city, I was convinced that Riverview would never be any more than a hell hole. But then the citizens decided enough was enough. They and the police and city cooperated to bring it around. Overall crime went down, and the drug dealers hit the road.
It took someone to stand up and say, “Enough is enough.” Somewhere in Highland there is someone willing to do just that, to work and organize and put together a cooperative effort with the police. They are more than willing to assist you, but you have to ask.
John Wayne Clark


Calvin: I think this writer makes a valid point for two reasons.

First, in my past law enforcement experience, when police attempt to eliminate a drug problem without citizen support, the cops are sometimes viewed as heavy handed gestapo that are part of the problem. If citizens aren't willing to "drop a dime" on the drug dealers, the cops can't eliminate a crime as insidious as drug distribution. Dopers--be they black or white, young or old, have to suffer tough consequences when they are nabbed.

Secondly, I'm glad the writer didn't turn the Highland problem into a race issue. The folks in Highland need to start "dropping dimes." I wasn't offended by the Riverview comment. In fact, I hope the writer is correct. If the drug problem on our side of town was virtually eliminated because the citizens said "enough is enough," I say "Right on."

Don Hickman

Wow, at least we know what the city was really thinking about and calling Riverview, or maybe that was his view only.
A Hell Hole?????
To think that Riverview was considered a hell hole in any way...... That's disgusting.

Bert Lanauze

Dear Calvin, Thank you for the letter concerning about the drugs in Highland. It take a community to stand together and a city as well. Who is willing to start the ball rolling in Highland? It only takes one person. If the police dept. knows what is going on, then they need to step up the work, hire more officers, and then what about undercover agents (Smile). That would really do the job.

Mary Caty Pride

Clark was a member of the Kingsport police department. In the early days of heavy drug trafficing, Clark was instrumental in bridging the gap between the police and the citizens of Riverview. I understand that a lot of citizens trusted Clark.

Virginia Hankins
As someone who grew up in Riverview and returning to Kingsport after years away I am glad that the Riverview community is finally taking a stand and getting rid of the drugs and everything else that infected the community. My question is why did it take so long, for years these problems have been there, many young people were injured or killed, our senior citizens were afraid to leave their homes, strangers walked the streets and and enter our clubs as tho they owned them. This has gone on for many many years. I am glad that " a change has come".
It is good to hear from Mr. Clark and I am sure he knows more than written in his letter as a former police officer.

Charlotte Young Peters-Maxwell
I saw this letter too. In fact, Mama and I commented on it. As we already knew, Highland has always had problems. But to make reference to Riverview, I don't know what to say. Everybody has a pre-conceived idea of Riverview and we have lived there or around there and made it. But anyway, it will be good to see what others had to say about the reference.

Dawnella Ellis

It is unfortunate to read this type of negative report about a section of my
city. I am, on the other had proud to note that my old neighborhood is help
up as a success story. I might add that Riverview's future is still is still
in the process of being rewritten in a very positive way. I would suggest that
the John Wayne Clark check out the South Central area in the next 3 to 5
years. It will be a model for similar blighted areas of other cities. ...Perhaps
the same history will be reported for the Highland area.

Ed Horton

John Clark's assessment of Riverview was probably right on target. Any infestation of corruption is UGLY. Action taken by concerned citizens confirmed what we have long thought to be a truth - There is strength in numbers united in reaching a specific goal.

Doris C