Anderson Police Chief Michael Johnson was in an apologetic mood when two more community residents attended the Sept. 17 Anderson City Council meeting to complain about law enforcement’s slow response to an alleged drug house operating in their East Bailey neighborhood.
“It was a bit of a learning curve for me,” Chief Johnson said. “I’m sorry it was a bit of a learning curve for all of us. I have learned a valuable lesson in how to talk to neighborhood groups,” he quickly added.
“I don’t think I relayed my philosophy in quite the right way early on,” Johnson told Dewey and Trudy Douglas, who each addressed the council on the issue.
“I’ve witnessed a lot of drug dealing going on at that residence. It’s very frustrating. I am afraid there will be a drug deal that goes bad there and someone gets hurt or shot,” Dewey Douglas said.
“One thing that might be helpful is to get a Neighborhood Watch system going with signs up in the neighborhood,” suggested his wife, Trudy Douglas.
“We will be sure to do that as soon as we get the first meeting scheduled with our Neighborhood Watch coordinator Regina Collier,” Johnson responded.
Johnson told the council the Anderson Police Department is coordinating a three-prong enforcement operation on the residence with Anderson Building Official Marty Mofield handling building code compliance issues and City Attorney Ann Siprelle issuing a cease and desist order to stop the illegal activities.
“Our officers are going by there on a regular basis. We are trying to make it very uncomfortable for the folks living there,” Johnson said.
“How long is this process going to take?” Mayor James Yarbrough asked the police chief.
“Unfortunately, getting all of the legal information together takes a bit of time,” Johnson responded.
During the past two years, residents in the neighborhood have repeatedly called Anderson Police and SHASCOM dispatchers to report suspicious activity at one particular residence along the short street, council members were told at their Sept. 3 meeting.
However, Dewey Douglas said he and his wife were unable to attend because they were out of town at that time.
“And it’s not just the one house,” Douglas said. “The people who live across the street tip them off all the time whenever the police come into the neighborhood.”
That comment drew fire from Jackie and James Powers, who live directly across the street from the alleged drug house.
"People who live on that street have been calling us and asking us why we are helping those people. We have nothing to do with anything going on in that house," Mrs. Powers said during a phone call to the Valley Post late last week.