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Scores meet with police in W.Va.

January 30, 1997

By CLYDE FORD

Staff Writer, Charles Town

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Nearly 100 people attended the first town meeting Thursday night between Jefferson County residents and law enforcement officials.

The meeting was held at the Shepherdstown Fire Hall, the first in a series of eight scheduled meetings. The next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. at the Zion Episcopal Church parish hall in Charles Town.

Police officers explained their efforts during the meeting, hospital and mental health officials described the programs available for those with drug problems, and residents told of their fears for children using drugs.

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Karen Stroup, the principal at T.A. Lowery Elementary, said there was a time when it seemed like children from poor families were the ones who used drugs.

Now it is more likely to be children who have parents making a great deal of money, but working from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., she said.

There are not enough "good, wholesome" activities for the children, she said.

"Where's our youth center? Where do kids go at night?" she said rhetorically.

One man asked where was the prayer in schools.

"That's a wonderful question, but I'd like to see prayer put back into the home," Stroup said.

"We tend to categorize them as these kids today. Those kids today aren't different than we were. The difference is our parents knew where we were," Stroup said.

West Virginia State Police Trooper Monte Williams said he was able to grow up in Brooklyn without using drugs and the children in Jefferson County should be able to make it.

"You and I have a responsibility to each other," Williams said. "We can beat this stuff."

One elderly-looking man said he worries about drugs because he cares about his grandchildren.

That caring is the first step in doing something about the problem, said Shepherdstown Police Chief Cecil Arnold.

Arnold said residents need to look out for each other and care for one another to fight crime.

"Hillary Clinton wrote a book, I haven't read it but I absolutely think the title is what Jefferson County is all about," Arnold said. "It takes a village. It takes a village to care for one another."

Victor Carr, a youth league basketball coach in Charles Town, said the problem is not enough parents spend time with their children.

"The parents don't take the time with them so the drug dealers take them in," Carr said.

"This room should be filled in actuality because this is every one's concern," Williams said.

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