A talk with Sheriff Ezell Brown
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.