By Emily Gallagher
Times West Virginian
The Fairmont Police Department is using many tools when it comes to fighting drug use in the city, and communication, teamwork and involvement in a task force are some key components in that effort.
Police Chief Kelley Moran has been a police officer for almost 22 years and said the drug problem in surrounding areas affects the drug problem in Fairmont.
“Time to time you have groups come in from other states, and they set up shop in an area and start selling drugs,” he said.
Moran said that even though drug use is high, the number of drug-related crimes has gone down.
“Right now our violent crime tolls are down,” he said. “I think that’s more to our response.”
One tool the police department is using is communication between the department and the public.
“We’ve implemented a Neighborhood Watch system in Fairmont,” Moran said. “We get a lot of cooperation from the public about giving us tips about drug-related activity.”
Another way the department fights back is by being involved with drug take backs, during which people can bring drugs they want to dispose of with no questions asked. Moran said those programs have been successful in getting unused prescription medication turned in.
“We’ve been involved in four of them,” Moran said. “We’ve averaged taking in over 100 pounds of prescription pills each time we’ve done it, and I’m hoping they continue the program.”
Police dogs are another tool the department uses.
“We’ve brought on two drug dogs,” Moran said. “We search a lot of cars and we search the schools when they ask us to.”