EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSSPECIAL ENFORCEMENT UNIT
from Eyewitness News Online
St. Albans Launches Special Enforcement Unit; Nets Several Arrests
Reported by: Leslie Rubin
Videographer: Matt Durrett
Web Producer: Leslie Rubin
Reported: Jan. 24, 2013 10:08 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 25, 2013 10:16 AM EST
St. Albans , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Saint Albans Police are sending a clear message to criminals to get out of town or suffer the consequences.
They're launched a new unit called the Special Enforcement Unit or SEU. It's been in the works for several years, but now with more manpower ready to hit the streets, it's a reality that's already making a difference.
Cash, pills, and even syringes loaded with prescription drugs were laid out on a table for all to see as Saint Albans Police explained the SEU. All of the evidence was seized during a drug bust at a home along Grant Avenue in Saint Albans last week.
"If you're doing this you need to stop, if you're not, then you have no concerns," explains SEU Commander Lt. Marc Gilbert.
Neighborhood complaints and a community watch group led SEU officers to the home where Martaze Davis and Demarko Randal, a duo with a Detroit drug connection, were arrested along with the homeowner, Timothy Basham.
While the first cases the new unit has worked have been drug investigations, they are quick to point out that this isn't a drug unit. They're ready to tackle everyday issues that happen right in your backyard.
"We'll be able to focus on crimes, not only drug related crimes but auto tampering, destruction of properties, other things that we haven't had much success in making arrests on," said Gilbert.
The Fugitive Files is even playing a part in SEU. On Wednesday night, officers got a tip one of the fugitives was staying at a home on Wilson Avenue. Within seconds she was captured and put behind bars.
Plainclothes officers were able to arrest Megan Bibbee without alarming the neighborhood, or perhaps prompting her to run. That will be the primary advantage SEU will have other uniformed officers in marked cars who are easily noticed.
"They can go right up to that person and literally get right next to them before they have to identify themselves," explained Captain James Agee.
The department has been trying to launch the three man unit since 2010, but has suffered several setbacks. Now, Mayor Dick Callaway says the city is in a financial position to fund the extra manpower, and they will be fully implemented in March.
"This is another way of saying that we don't want you here if you're going to be causing problems for our community," said the mayor.
A mission to crack down on street crimes with the community's help.
"If they're willing to call us with a complaint, we'll be able to verify the information they're giving and start the investigation there. Immediately," said Gilbert.
To call in a tip, you can reach SEU at 304-727-2251 or e-mail them tips to email@example.com.
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