01/11/05 — Mt. Olive residents complain about shots fired in city

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Mt. Olive residents complain about shots fired in city

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on January 11, 2005 1:58 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Some people are firing guns inside the city limits, and it's frightening the town's residents.

Mount Olive Town Commissioner Ora Truzy said Monday night that she has received several telephone calls from concerned citizens who are frightened by the increasing number of shootings.

"Women are afraid to come outside," she said. "Even my dog is scared because of firing guns at night."

Residents have been complaining to commissioners because they are afraid of the repercussions if they call the police, said Commissioner Paul Smalley. He said several elderly women have called him about the danger.

Town Manager Ray McDonald said a woman told him about the shootings but would not say who was firing the guns. He recommended that the board hold town meetings in the neighborhoods where the shots are fired, perhaps at a church. McDonald said residents need to feel that they can confide in law enforcement officers.

"They have to know they can talk to police one day and it won't be on the street the next day who told what," McDonald said.

Police Chief Emmett Ballree emphasized that residents can trust the police to keep their information confidential.

"We're not going to go up to the door of the person who calls," he said. "We'll just follow up on it."

Ballree told the board he would meet tonight with the residents of Mount Olive School Apartments. He said the department will be glad to speak to any group about what they can do to solve the problem.

Ballree said police officers can patrol some areas more heavily, but that usuall all that does is cause the shooters to shift locations.

"We chase them around town," he said. "It becomes a game."

Ballree that without residents' help it is difficult to track the shooters. He said that is why officers need as much information from residents as possible, including the descriptions of suspects. He said people who call in complaints need to be able to tell police more than merely "someone shot a gun."