Sher­iff Ezell Brown Q&A

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - DAR­RYL WELCH dwelch@cov­news.com

In light of a re­cent spate of bur­glar­ies, armed rob­beries, drug ar­rests and car break-ins in New­ton County, The Cov­ing­ton News ed­i­to­rial staff sat down with New­ton County Sher­iff Ezell Brown to get his take on crime trends and what steps are be­ing taken to com­bat them. The News: What kind of crime prob­lems did the county see dur­ing the sum­mer? Will those sub­side now that school is back in ses­sion?

Brown: One thing in par­tic­u­lar, as al­ways, we see an in­crease in the Part Two crimes – the bur­glar­ies, the en­ter­ing au­tos, false alarms, break­ing and en­ter­ing, van­dal­ism, we see those types of crimes. There al­ways seems to be an uptick dur­ing this time of the year. One of the rea­sons why goes back to, as I’ve al­ways said, a lack of ac­tiv­i­ties for the youth to be in­volved in. I’ve al­ways said an idle mind is the devil’s work­shop. We as a com­mu­nity, my­self, in­clud­ing you and ev­ery­one else, to in­clude the cit­i­zens and politi­cians, even the faith-based com­mu­nity, have to come to­gether and try to cre­ate some form of ac­tiv­i­ties for our youth to keep them ac­tively in­volved in what I would say are pos­i­tive, stim­u­lat­ing things.

The News: Just to fol­low up on that, do you think the new Boys & Girls Club will help with that?

Brown: I cer­tainly be­lieve that it will be a ben­e­fit. I can’t see where the Boys & Girls Club would be some­thing that would be prob­lem­atic to the com­mu­nity if it is op­er­ated prop­erly. Our goal is to be ac­tively in­volved in the Boys & Girls Club. As a mat­ter of fact, one of the deputies here with the Sher­iff’s Of­fice is ac­tively in­volved in spear­head­ing it and I am al­low­ing him to take part in that be­cause I want the of­fice of sher­iff to be one of the faces that’s go­ing to be there with the Boys & Girls Club be­cause it means a lot to me, be­cause I know that if it is op­er­ated prop­erly, then we know it’s go­ing to change the mind­set and also give ac­tiv­i­ties for the youth to be in­volved in.

The News: What do you see as crime trends in the county and where are they go­ing? Brown: Well, that was a

good ques­tion that you posed, the rea­son be­ing, I was in At­lanta just on Mon­day and I was with all of the lead­ers in the metro area and there were ques­tions be­ing raised by those lead­ers in the metro area in­di­cat­ing that they see crime mov­ing to New­ton County. They see and they hear of more crime mov­ing into New­ton County. That’s alarm­ing to me. That’s one thing we have rec­og­nized, and par­tic­u­larly on the west­ern side, be­cause that’s where our pop­u­la­tion growth is. It also con­nects to Rock­dale County, and I think Rock­dale County has had their share of prob­lems out of the metro area. You know, all of us are con­sid­ered as met­ro­pol­i­tan area, but I think the fact that a lot of it is pushed out of Ful­ton County over into DeKalb. DeKalb pushes it over into Rock­dale and we’re try­ing our best to keep it on the Rock­dale County side. We make no bones about that’s what our in­tent is. That’s is very con­cern­ing to me. That’s one of the rea­sons I al­ways men­tion to the board of com­mis­sion­ers about staffing. Staffing plays a key is­sue in be­ing able to put the man­power out there to com­bat those types of crimes that we are very con­cerned about and that is those vi­o­lent crimes com­ing in.

The News: Meth, opi­ates, mar­i­juana, al­co­hol or In­ter­state 20: Which is the big­ger con­trib­u­tor to crime in New­ton County?

Brown: I think a lot of it is the un­known that’s pass­ing through. We never get the op­por­tu­nity to see or cap­ture those in­di­vid­u­als, but we do know that meth is on the rise here in New­ton County. It is an epi­demic here in New­ton County and that’s very con­cern­ing and alarm­ing, be­cause many of the cases that we’re in­volved in, in par­tic­u­lar, when you look at the thefts and the bur­glar­ies and so forth, it seems to be that meth is con­nected with it some way or the other. We still have that is­sue with mar­i­juana. Opi­ates, that’s one of the things, I think, that slipped through the net, but I do see an in­crease or an uptick in the ar­rests in those crimes re­lated to meth.

The News: Are gangs a prob­lem in New­ton County?

Brown: There are is­sues in New­ton County, and I think as long as you have a com­mu­nity, again, where you have in­di­vid­u­als who have noth­ing to look for­ward to, who have noth­ing to be­lieve in, who have an idle mind, again, be­come not only a dan­ger to them­selves, but a dan­ger to the com­mu­nity. So, we are very con­cerned about that and we’re do­ing ev­ery­thing we can pos­si­bly do to com­bat those prob­lems. We hear of gang ac­tiv­ity and as soon as we hear of gang ac­tiv­ity, we do our best to sat­u­rate those ar­eas and make sure we can root it out. That’s our goal. We’re not go­ing to be in de­nial and say that we have no gang prob­lems. I think I would be fool­ish to even lead the pub­lic to be­lieve there are no gang is­sues.

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