First Posted: 1/15/2009
ROWLAND - Alex Baker told town leaders Tuesday that they needed to be more aggressive in fighting crime - and said, if they don't do something, he would.
Baker had come to the town Board of Commissioners meeting to complain about people walking the streets of Rowland late at night. Baker asked that a curfew or some type of ordinance be written to cut down on late night pedestrian traffic.
“When I see guys walking up and down back alleys at 4 o'clock in the morning … that's a problem to me,” Baker said. “They are not up to anything good. Something should be done about it.”
Mayor Harris McCall said the town doesn't have a curfew and stopping every young person on the street would violate their rights. Baker countered, saying it is no different than the police stopping drivers who cruise the back streets in the wee hours of the night.
Commissioner Buddy Shooter said the town can't require officers to stop everybody they see walking the streets. He said years ago that the police could scare away young people, but times have changed.
“Nowadays if our policemen stop somebody and question them, their response would be, ‘it ain't none of your business where I'm going,' ” Shooter said. “Things are just different than they used to be.”
Baker, who had his home broken into during October, said if the town will not help, he may have to take matters into his own hands.
“Two wrongs will not make a right,” Shooter said.
Baker said other residents are just as angry, but are afraid to speak out. He was the only person to speak during the public comment period.
“Whenever people start breaking into your houses, ya'll will start thinking the same way we are thinking,” Baker said.
In other business, McCall shared with the board a letter written by Chief District Court Judge Stanley Carmical which commended Police Chief Daniel Bradsher for improving security at the Rowland courtroom.
“For a number of years Chief Bradsher has assigned an officer to scan people entering the courtroom with a hand-held metal detector,” the letter said. “This process, although not required by the court, greatly enhances the security and safety of the courtroom personnel and the citizens who attend court.”
Aside from the county courthouse, Rowland has the only other facility that offers regular screenings. Carmical also praised Bradsher for making sure his officers are present in court when they are called.
“As a result, cases in Rowland tend to move in an appropriate pace and we are able to dispose of cases without unnecessary delay.”