Our View: Joint crime-fighting efforts effective


Rocky Mount Telegram

Sunday, February 25, 2018

A raid last week on a gang-operated drug distribution house on Long Avenue in Rocky Mount is the latest result of a renewed focus on cooperation between law enforcement agencies in the area.

As reported by staff writer Lindell John Kay, deputies and officers with the Edgecombe County Sheriff's Office, Nash County Sheriff’s Office and Rocky Mount Police Department teamed up on a weeks-long investigation into the illegal activities at the house and on Tuesday executed a search warrant as part of the Tar River Regional Drug Task Force.

Interim Rocky Mount Police Chief Willie Williams was quick — and correct — to sign on to the cooperative efforts forged between Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone and Edgecombe County Sheriff Clee Atkinson that began soon after Atkinson was selected to be the top law enforcement officer in Edgecombe County.

Stone and Atkinson were longtime partners when they served with the N.C. Highway Patrol, so it appears as natural as it is welcome that the two sheriffs would act quickly to rekindle a cooperative relationship in the Twin Counties.

And area residents are the beneficiaries of this drive to expand joint efforts among local law enforcement agencies.

Crime and criminals are not confined by municipal, county or jurisdictional lines — and neither should law enforcement operations. The sharing of information, resources and manpower among the Twin Counties’ two sheriff’s offices and the police departments of Rocky Mount and the area’s small towns is sure to increase the pressure on drug dealers and violent criminals and help bring more of them to justice.

That’s a big reason why it’s imperative for Republican lawmakers in Raleigh to rethink their legislation to redraw the state’s judicial districts that would split Rocky Mount into separate judicial districts at the county line.

Such a division would be completely at odds with this new emphasis on joint crime-fighting efforts by the two sheriff’s offices, Rocky Mount police and the Tar River Regional Drug Task Force by forcing prosecutions of their cases to be handled by separate District Attorney’s offices. 

These renewed cooperative crime-fighting efforts need to be encouraged and welcomed — not hampered by lawmakers from other parts of the state.