LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - The Walters Police Department has been taking new measures to crack down on drugs in town over the last few months.
Lieutenant Ben Lehew said they’ve been getting creative with how they’re catching drug dealers, sending officers undercover and putting together several investigations. In the last six months, they’ve put 16 people behind bars. Lehew said charges have been filed on seven people for possession of drugs, eight others for distribution and one for trafficking. He said those charges were primarily for meth and marijuana.
"Getting 16 people off the street in a community of about 2,500 that’s a significant impact. These cases, one case leads to another case, leads to another case, leads to another case. So it’s an ongoing effort for us, we are seeing an impact, we are hearing the buzz on the street about be careful, we’ve seen some people that have been involved in it be not involved with it anymore,” Lehew said.
Walters resident Karla Eschiti said she is thrilled police are getting drug dealers off the streets.
"It’s nice to see everybody, the law enforcement trying to clean up the town and make it a better place for everybody to live. We’re a small community, everybody knows each other. But now we’ve got so many people moving in that we don’t know, and we don’t know what their history and background is. Seeing them go out and try to clean it up, that’s great,” Eschiti said.
Lehew said they’ve been working with the DEA, OHP and the Bureau of Narcotics. He said they will continue cracking down on drugs in the future because he says that is what the community wants from them.
"This community doesn’t want to see that. They don’t want to see methamphetamine, they don’t want to see marijuana. They don’t want to see people walking up and down the street selling it, they don’t want to see people under the influence of it. They just don’t want to see it, they don’t want to be a part of it, they don’t want to be around it. So, we have an obligation to these people as well to make sure we clean these streets up and get these people off the streets,” Lehew said.
"Nobody will want to come here and live here if we have a drug problem. Drugs are going to lead to the gangs. If that happens, everyone is going to leave. We used to have military people and now the military people don’t even come here anymore,” Eschiti said.
Lehew said drugs can have a huge impact on other crimes, such as burglaries, so he believes getting them off the streets can make crime in general go down in Walters.