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Leaders should fix county-policing problem

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By The Staff

Some problems are best resolved with guns.

Not every problem whose best solution is a gun can be expected to occur in extreme southern Perry County, but that's where our law-enforcement resources are concentrated. Driving time from the police and sheriff's departments in Tell City and Cannelton to northern parts of the county can be excruciatingly long for anyone facing a problem that has or might involve violence.

The issue has come within a hair's breadth of being raised before county officials. The News reported last month that a Chaplin Road resident, Roger Eckert, had hoped to raise the issue before the county commissioners but was prevented by illness from doing so. He described his concern to The News, however, and they are valid: he asked for police help and it wasn't available.

Among the points he raised: We all deserve equal protection from those who would do us harm.

Eckert also had his name added to the agenda for a county-council meeting. He didn't attend that meeting and according to County Auditor Connie Berger, didn't call to say why. Sheriff Bob Glenn said later Eckert had decided not to pursue the issue, and that is his right, of course.

The problem didn't go away, however, and knowing that, county leaders should take it on.  

They will encounter difficulty in providing the same level of protection that Tell City residents enjoy. City officers responding to any situation in their jurisdiction have no more than a few miles to cover, and are often closer to places where trouble develops because they patrol the city.

Residents of northern parts of the county are virtually guaranteed any police response will have to come from the southern end.

Particularly troubling is a statement made by Sheriff Bob Glenn in describing Eckert's concerns.

"The state (police) told him it's the county's problem," Glenn said.

If that's true, we'd like to know what part of the state is the responsibility of the Indiana State Police, considering that all of Indiana is divided into counties.   

We urge our county leadership to examine the issue, keeping in mind that "we can't afford it" is no place to stop the discussion. If money is a barrier, outside-the-cash-box solutions must be explored. As a place to start the discussion, we'd like to offer an existing county resource - the county's highway-department garage - which could offer a vantage point from which to dispatch help when seconds count.

More ideas would come, we bet, if only a conversation on the issue were started.

Consider it begun.

Our view: Editorials reflect the opinions of the newspaper.

Your view: Tell us what you think. E-mail us at editor@perrycountynews.com or mail your comments to P.O. Box 309, Tell City, IN 47586.