Local church pastor Eric E. Fredrick emphasized the need for action during Tuesday’s meeting of the Polk County Board of Commissioners.
Chairman Cleve Hartley informed Fredrick that the central role of government is to protect the citizens.
He asked Chief Kenny Dodd, Polk Police Department, to meet with the citizens of West Side.
Chief Dodd said he would bring his command staff to the meeting once it is scheduled.
“I will tell them what we can and not do as a police department,” he said. “I think it will be great for them to tell us what is wrong and we can tell them how we can help. I think it will be a great partnership. I am looking forward to it.”
Dodd, in a later interview, said the problems in West Side have been the same for sometime. He described the area as having street level drug dealers that are peddling dope on the streets.
He said this leads to thefts, burglaries and other crime, including several shootings.
“It is good the community recognizes there is a problem and wants to partner with law enforcement to find answers,” Dodd said.
“The Polk County Police Department will do whatever it takes to try to change things. It is a shame that somebody is afraid to let their kids out in the yard to play.”
Dodd emphasized that, as Chief, this bothers him and he feels it is his duty to try and stop it.
Pastor Fredrick described the border between Rockmart and Polk as a haven for criminal activity.
“The community does not receive city police coverage due to complex boundary lines that skip over most of the community,” he said.
He pointed out that those interested in criminal activity use the boundary lines to their advantage as a shield from law enforcement.
“We are asking for more county and sheriff patrol and coverage to subsidize the jurisdictional restriction of the city police,” Fredrick said.
“We want to make it clear that we are not asking for police harassment or to put the community under Martial Law, but for a greater presence of law enforcement to discourage crime.”
His concern has also been shared with Rockmart’s mayor and city council. A meeting was held with citizens, law enforcement and elected officials. Everyone reported good results from that meeting.