POTTSVILLE, Ark. — Want a drug dealer out of your town? How about knocking on their front door and telling them you’re on to them. That’s the approach for Pottsville’s Police Chief, and it’s yielding results.
Every rose has its thorn. For Manuel Penagos tending his yard Monday, the thorn of Fox Creek Court lived next door. Both Neighbors and police described constant cars coming and going, an unkempt yard, loud music, and people wandering in and out of the woods late in the night.
In one instance a person was even caught wandering into an elderly woman’s garage. It was less than welcoming, and everyone suspected more sinister activity.
“Bad people,” Penagos remarked of his former neighbors. “We saw a few things that we don’t like but we don’t interact with those people. Those people don’t feel friendly.”
According to Sara Francis who lives down the road, “The word on the street was they were selling drugs.”
When reports came to the Pottsville Police Department, Chief Joseph Paterak’s approach wasn’t stealthy.
“I hate waiting. I just want to try and fix it right then,” Paterak told our station. “I just took a direct approach and knocked on their door.”
While the woman who answered explained the constant stream of cars as friends of her son, Paterak said their one or two-minute visits were more typical of drug activity.
In his words, “You’re on notice. We’re watching ya.”
“I think it’s really crazy,” Francis said of her police chief’s method. “I mean he’s got guts, especially knocking on their door.”
Police tracked cars leaving the home in the days following the visit and arrested a few people for possession of meth. Within two weeks, the people living in the suspected house packed up and moved to Ohio.
With the thorn pruned by police, hopefully so will any other stemming crime.
According to Chief Paterak, “Where you see the drugs, you’ll see a lot of theft, shootings, or multiple different types of crimes.”
And the people on Fox Creek Court and the surrounding community hope whoever buys the home next will have the same goal of making the community safe.
As Penagos said, “It’s a place with good people living here. We hope that good people come live with us.”
It was such a quick move Pottsville Police say the home went back to the bank. They also say they could not have taken such quick action without the community letting them know what they saw. So if you have a nuisance or safety concern like this, certainly let your police know.