A talk with Sher­iff Ezell Brown

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - MARIYA LEWTER mlewter@covnews.com

What we have to re­al­ize also is even though these in­ci­dents oc­curred in the En­clave apart­ments on the west side, we feel it through­out the com­mu­nity. It af­fects the en­tire com­mu­nity.”

This week, alone, two al­leged mur­ders oc­curred in New­ton County, and an­other per­son was killed in the city of Cov­ing­ton. Since April there have been two other mur­ders, one a stab­bing in the Wes­leyan neigh­bor­hood on May 19 and the other a shoot­ing in Cov­ing­ton on June 19, both charged to ju­ve­niles. In wake of the re­cent tragedies in New­ton County, in­clud­ing sev­eral mur­ders that have oc­curred over the past month, the Cov­ing­ton News sat down with New­ton County Sher­iff Ezell Brown to get his take on the re­cent vi­o­lent crimes, and how the com­mu­nity can band to­gether in this time.

COV­ING­TON NEWS: How is the Sher­iff's Of­fice re­spond­ing to the re­cent mur­ders?

SHER­IFF EZELL BROWN: First I would like to ex­tend our sym­pa­thy and con­cerns to all fam­i­lies in these tragic events, be­cause it af­fects both sides of each fam­ily. It is a real life-al­ter­ing event for each one of the fam­i­lies, so that’s our con­cern, hopes and prayers that both sides of the fam­i­lies can get through this. What we are do­ing in an ef­fort re­gard­ing the re­cent mur­ders, we have in­creased our pa­trol in the area. We’re be­ing more vis­i­ble and we’re con­tin­u­ing to in­ter­act with the cit­i­zens and gar­ner­ing their sup­port and help in com­bat­ing any and all crimes in the area. We’re call­ing upon the com­mu­nity. If you hear some­thing, see some­thing, know some­thing, we’re ask­ing them to get in­volved and con­tact the Sher­iff’s Of­fice.

COV­ING­TON NEWS: What do you think is con­tribut­ing to the spike in mur­ders re­cently?

BROWN: I think it’s a na­tional crime is­sue. Ev­ery­thing is tense, and I think it’s a trickle-down ef­fect. Sta­tis­ti­cally, I believe more crimes oc­cur in the sum­mer. We have more per­haps in and out­side of the com­mu­nity in the sum­mer.

COV­ING­TON NEWS: In what ways can the com­mu­nity can help in pre­vent­ing these kinds of crimes?

BROWN: I think what we need to do is to con­tinue pro­vid­ing the in­for­ma­tion. We have to start early. We can’t just start when we have an adult com­mu­nity. Start­ing early is what we’re do­ing now, and hope­fully we will reap the ben­e­fits of it in years to come, and I cer­tainly hope those years are around the cor­ner. When we teach our C.H.A.M.P.S. [Choos­ing Healthy Ac­tiv­i­ties and Meth­ods Pro­mot­ing Safety] pro­gram to all of our fifth graders in school, I think it should be a

con­tin­u­a­tion of some type of well­ness pro­gram that ex­pand across the school sys­tem, as well as the com­mu­nity to make things more af­ford­able. I think ac­ces­si­ble recre­ation ac­tiv­i­ties and a num­ber of fac­tors could help end this. I think town hall meet­ings, which we do have, and neigh­bor­hood watch meet­ings can help. Non­tra­di­tional in­for­ma­tion and meet and greets al­low the pub­lic to have one on ones with law en­force­ment with­out a real life-chang­ing event. COV­ING­TON NEWS: Do have any other com­ments you’d like to share?

BROWN: I think as of­fi­cers of the law, we need to con­tinue to strive and push for­ward with our com­mu­nity polic­ing ef­fort. I think one of the things we also need to do is to elim­i­nate the ‘snitch’ method, if you know what I mean. We need to some­how elim­i­nate that so that the cit­i­zens will feel more freely to come for­ward and get in­volved when they see, know or hear some­thing. It is time for them to get in­volved. We need to part­ner with more com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tions and have a joint ef­fort in en­sur­ing that our com­mu­ni­ties are safe. What we have to re­al­ize also is even though these in­ci­dents oc­curred in the En­clave apart­ments on the west side, we feel it through­out the com­mu­nity. It af- fects the en­tire com­mu­nity. Our goal is to hope­fully be able to put more of­fi­cers on the street. Ev­ery­one knows that more of­fi­cers tend to be a de­ter­rent of crime, and that’s what we’re hop­ing we can do. We’ve urged the board and asked for more help and as­sis­tance, and we cer­tainly hope they will hear our cry, par­tic­u­larly af­ter these in­ci­dents that have oc­curred.

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