06/22/06 — Fremont residents say crime is out of control

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Fremont residents say crime is out of control

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on June 22, 2006 1:52 PM

FREMONT -- Fremont residents told town council members this week that illegal drug activity, public drinking, littering and noisy youths wandering the streets late at night have become problems the town must address.

Ten residents spoke at the town board's meeting, saying they expect town officials to do something to alleviate the problem.

"We want something done," former alderman Richard Lail said.

"What we have now is nothing like we've seen," Gail Lail said.

The criticism was not the first leveled at town officials about criminal activity. Residents have approached the board about drug dealers and other lawbreakers several times over the past few years.

Dean Edwards complained that cars speed through his neighborhood, Warnetta Montgomery said she had seen a man take his clothes off in public, and Shirley Coley called her neighborhood "a dangerous place," because of the threat of violence.

"We're all tired of drugs and alcohol," Amy Price said, noting that she had seen teenagers smoking marijuana in plain view.

Bobby Rowe questioned whether law enforcement officers were aware of the severity of the problem.

"Wayne County is out of control," Rowe said. "It's worse now than ever before in my life."

New police Chief Wayne Schwark declined comment on the complaints but Town Administrator Kerry McDuffie said both police and the town board are aware of the problems and have already taken steps to deal with them.

Mayor Devone Jones pointed out that the new town budget contains money for an additional police officer, two new police cars with on-board video cameras and a drug dog. He urged residents to get the license plate number of suspect vehicles and report them to police.

McDuffie said law enforcement officers are working to slow the flow of drugs but that they can't make their efforts public. He compared the problem to the town's sewer woes.

"We can develop a game plan to take care of the water and sewer problems and tell the public," McDuffie said. "We can develop a game plan for drugs, but if we make it public, then the drug dealers will know about it."

Town officials said they are working with county law officers to stem the flow of drugs.

Jones told the residents they will see action.

"We've heard from you. We're trying to do something about it," the mayor said.