Pride plays a key role in prevention

Published 8:37 pm Friday, January 21, 2011

Demopolis is fortunate. I mean very fortunate.

I had the opportunity to spend a few minutes talking to Demopolis Chief of Police Tommie Reese Wednesday about several things. Of course, one of those things happened to be crime.

Demopolis enjoys a fairly low crime rate compared to communities similar in size and economic condition.

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Reese and his officers certainly play a large role in keeping the crime rate low and criminals off our streets, but the public in general shares in that accomplishment.

For example, Demopolis has experienced its fair share of hardship in the past 16 months.

One of the city’s largest employers, New Era Cap Company, shut its doors and put 300-plus people in the unemployment line. The nation’s economy further contracted, forcing many businesses to lay off employees or cut back their hours.

Through all this the city has persevered. Not only that, it has thrived.

Despite this new challenges, the city saw no appreciable difference in its crime rate. That statistic is a credit to all the men, women and children who live here.

By comparison, travel about 50 miles east to Dallas County. The first month of the year is barely 22 days old and Selma has already seen two murders and multiple shootings.

During a meeting Thursday in the Selma City Council chambers, city leaders, along with key members of the Selma community, heard reports from public safety leaders about what efforts will begin immediately to curtail some of the violence.

According to, Atlanta – a city of more than 500,000 people and exponentially larger than Dallas County’s seat – has experienced three murders this year. Selma, a town only about three times the size of Demopolis, has seen two.

Some of this can be attributed to leadership but much of it should be attributed to prevention.

Reese and his department have laid a fairly aggressive “no nonsense” groundwork that have sent more than a handful of drug dealers and users, and at least one counterfeiter, to jail.

Reese and his officers have sent a message that Demopolis is not a place to commit a crime and expect to get away with it. Too, the community has shown a great sense of pride that they support their police department in their zero tolerance effort.

This collaboration is vital to weathering this economic recovery and keeping the quality of life in our city high.

I am proud to call Demopolis home and it is because it affords me the kind of friends, neighbors and civic and community leadership that takes such pride in where they live and what they have.

Jason Cannon is the publisher of The Demopolis Times.