By Rachel Dove
RAGLAND -The donation of an older-model police cruiser from the Mingo County Sheriff’s Department will prove to be a much=needed asset for the members of the Ragland Crime Watch.
Richard Belcher, who serves as president of the Crime Watch, along with several other members of the group, gathered in Williamson on Tuesday to receive the keys that were presented to them by Sheriff James Smith. Belcher had recently approached the Mingo County Commission regarding the possibility of acquiring a used vehicle in good operable condition that would be utilized for the road patrols performed by the crime watch group. When one was taken out of use by the sheriff’s department and replaced with a newer model, it was earmarked for the Crime Watch.
The Ragland Crime Watch is the most active community-based group that is still patroling its neighborhoods in an effort to discourage criminal activity, and wants to continue that work. The addition of the former Crown Victoria patrol car will greatly aid their endeavors to keep the Ragland community safe.
In addition to the crime watch program, Belcher has headed up a litter pick-up day for April 12 that will include the whole Ragland area. The crime watch president said he is hoping to have a large number of volunteers participate in the cleanup, saying that there is a good amount of garbage lining the roadways and creek banks in Ragland and he wants to see it cleaned up and hauled away.
“We should all take pride in our communities and do our part to keep them clean,” Belcher said. “I’m embarrassed for family and friends to visit from other places across the U.S. and see how nasty it looks. We live in a beautiful place and we should put our best foot forward and keep it clean.
“We need to teach our children and our grandchildren to properly dispose of garbage, instead of tossing it out of a car window,” he said.
Several county leaders, including county commissioners Greg Smith and Mike Carter, Prosecutor Teresa Maynard and House of Delegates member Justin Marcum, attended the March 11 meeting of the crime watch and expressed their gratitude for a job well done while pledging their support.
“If we all do our part and work together, anything is possible,” Belcher said. “All it takes is stepping out to do the right thing.”