Conversation with the Chief, Part 2

Meridian Police Chief Lee Shelbourn says he's making sure that his officers presence is very visible in neighborhoods, especially those neighborhoods that are affected by crime.

Each day, members of the Meridian Police Department meet before taking to the streets. They never know what their day will be like: car burglaries, home invasions, accidents, or as was the case last week, murder.

Chief Shelbourn is clear on where the problem stems.

"I think drugs is a major part of our crimes. I think it's affiliated with our homicides," said Shelbourn. "I think it's affiliated with our burglaries, I think it's affiliated with a vast majority of our crimes. I think we need to address our drugs."

And so to do that, he wants a bigger presence in the school house.

"I'd like to save these kids from issues," the chief said. "We want to help them before they get into trouble instead of waiting till after the fact."

And there's more. Highland Park has become problematic over the years. A quiet beautiful park, it is a crime area.There are things in the works to make it safer. There are few details at this point. What is detailed is a plan to deal with gangs.

"We're looking at establishing an anti-gang unit," said Shelbourn. "Some people have told me, no, we don't have a gang problem. From what I've seen and the statistics I've seen, we do."

Shelbourn says he is also establishing special ops units on the street in burglary-ridden areas.

The Meridian Police Department has 95 full-time sworn officers, 16 other employees and 45 square miles of territory to cover.


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