A few days can look like a few years

In the course of a week, what we cover at the Monroe Journal runs through a diverse range. From controversial topics to nonprofits on a mission spotlighted in these pages, some stories intertwine more than you think. Here’s a glance of that mindset.
Saturday, Jan. 12…My work day begins with an interview with the organizers of Faith and Hope Resources, a group aimed at taking preventative measures to defuse bad situations like drugs, alcohol and crime with children and adults. Their mission is to use scripture to help people in problematic situations.
Tuesday, Jan. 15…Aberdeen’s board of aldermen meeting focused more on police protection than operating issues of the city. As explained by the aldermen in the meeting, the city doesn’t oversee the day-to-day operations of the Aberdeen Police Department.
What appears to be the biggest concern on most citizens’ minds is the rash of breaking and entering cases plaguing Aberdeen during the past several weeks. As explained by police Chief Henry Randle in the meeting, the majority of the suspects are juveniles and state laws restrict harsh penalties to eliminate the revolving door effect.
Friday, Jan. 18. 9 a.m….In conversation with Aberdeen High School JROTC instructor Lt. Col. Jeff Coggin, he explains a restructuring of the program for the future to pull the best and brightest students to act as a method for change and inspiration of their peers. One missing piece of the puzzle is more people to step in as mentors and tutors to provide for more success.
10 a.m……Mixed in with information about Tenn-Tom Moving Youth’s upcoming step show fund-raiser, director Ann Tackett states it’s time the community gets behind the Aberdeen School District in its efforts.
4 p.m…..In proofing the Aberdeen Police Report, I see five reports of either theft or breaking and entering cases in one day.
Maybe the ring of thefts was always this bad on and off and maybe juveniles were behind a bulk of it then too. The talk on the streets says this small group of kids can make the whole town if their car radio is still going to be in there in the morning.
Everybody can point fingers, blast the schools, the aldermen and law enforcement, but they’re dealing with something far worse than blame – the product of the kids’ raising or lack thereof.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Randle stated that instead of people asking ways to help, all he heard was negative. Mayor Cecil Belle asked each alderman to appoint someone from their wards to serve on an advisory committee for the police department.
A watchdog for any entity is great when it leads to improvements, but it takes a village to be a watchdog over an entire city.
Since the age 12–17 age group may be at the root of the latest controversy, it’s more evident than before that the parents should be held more accountable, but so many times to parents aren’t there so the streets are the next best option so reach out to them.
Law enforcement should be held accountable too, but to help achieve that they need help too to report anything out of the ordinary in your neighborhood.
In meetings while the Aberdeen School District faltered away before the state department intervened, there was discussion about how people could help, but that’s as far as it went.
You can talk bad about the powers that be and talk about what you would do if you were in their position, but you don’t have to be elected to step up and push your own agenda.
Citizen arrests are something you only see on television, but community activists are around you everyday trying to help the kids and ultimately you so get behind what they’re doing.
The JROTC and the ASD is looking for mentors for the kids to help them to provide for brighter futures. F&H Resources is looking for more people to help reach out to those going through problems. TTMY is sculpting kids’ lives so ask how you can help out as well.
The city needs ideas how to clean up a messy situation that didn’t happen overnight so let them know. The APD needs tips on what you see on your street so don’t let them forget.
The above was just a week at a glance from our standpoint. Take a step back and take a long hard look at where your community was and is now and do your part to get it back to where it was.

Ray Van Dusen is the news editor for the Monroe Journal. He can be reached at ray.vandusen@journalinc.com.

About Ray Van Dusen

I've been with the Monroe Journal since Aug. 2009 as a staff writer, but took the role as news editor in late 2012. I'm always looking for interesting story ideas from around Monroe County. You can reach me via email at ray.vandusen@journalinc.com.