Carbondale's fighting edge on crime

Carbondale's fighting edge on crime
By: Arnold Wyrick

CARBONDALE, Ill. - When it comes to fighting crimek, police departments look for any edge they can get to catch a criminal.  And now Carbondale's Police Department has found that edge, in three of their full-time officers.
"We were looking at ways that we could go out and demonstrate to the community that we're addressing problems," said Chief Bob Ledbetter.
So the department formed a Street Crimes Unit.
"With a specialized unit they have the time to be able to go and devote to that particular problem," Chief Ledbetter said.
Some of Carbondale's citizens still question why the department had to form a special group to fight crime.
"I really think they should be doing that anyway.  I mean they are police officers," said Debbie Mederios of Carbondale.
But, Chief Ledbetter points out these three officers in the unit won't be focusing on anything but violent crimes, drug activity and other serious public issues.
"We've had numerous drug arrests, we've recovered a large amount of drugs.  We've taken guns and drugs off the streets.  It's been a very productive unit for us," Ledbetter said
And some folks living in Carbondale feel that just the presence of the unit can be enough to fight crime in their neighborhoods.
"I think the visibility of any law enforcement, I think that's important.  It's like an alarm going off.  A silent alarm would help you.  But, it would deter if the noise goes off. So I think the unit is going to be very effective," said Paulette Sherwood of Carbondale.
And if the numbers tell of the unit's effectiveness, then their 123 arrests since forming at the end of March should speak for themselves.