I am not a news writer, to be frank.

I am a sports writer who is still learning how to do news.

I will swing and miss at times. I will fumble the ball, and not get a story that maybe I should.

Like a coach at the podium among a bunch of other sportswriters, I will likely write something that will likely make people unhappy.

Such is the life of a reporter, especially one who has managed to last 20 years in the business.

This might be one of those of those columns this week.

I’ve had many conversations with law enforcement here in Lincoln County, many long ones with Sheriff Rick Harrell, about how to reduce crime in the county, and one of his comments struck me.

He said there are 61,000 people in the county, but only 1,000 of them need policing. I had never thought about it that way before, but he’s absolutely correct!

How do we get there though? I think we all agree there’s no clear and absolute solution for that one.

All I can do is offer my opinions. We all have them.

When I pull probable cause statements from the Lincoln County Justice Center every day (and I nearly have to get butt-naked before going through the metal detectors beforehand), I see a great deal of drug crimes. I agree with several members of law enforcement with the theory of getting of treatment for the low-level offenders.

We’re already seeing most of the same names already, right? Arresting them over and over again isn’t doing much good, is it?

I believe if you get these people into treatment programs, you can deplete the number of addicts in Lincoln County, thereby reducing the number of overdose deaths here. Can you imagine fewer arrests, fewer grieving families?

Also, fewer addicts mean fewer people dealers can supply to. Kill the demand, put the dealers out of business. 

It’s basic economics! 

I understand we’re not going to save everyone this way. However, if you could save just a few, think about the residual effects? Property crimes and burglaries would go down drastically as well, because addicts wouldn’t be stealing to support their habits.

Now you’re probably reading this column and thinking “this guy’s has lost his (expleted-deleted) mind.” You’ve read about some awful cases in the Lincoln County Journal, and many of them have been drug-related. 

You’re right. Some people are too far-gone to be saved. However, what if we can get to some of them before they reach that point of no return? 

Wouldn’t it be worth it?

My favorite philosopher once asked, “…for can anything be sillier than to insist on carrying a burden one would continually much rather throw to the ground?”

Is this a can we should continue to kick down the road? 

Once again, there is no concrete solution to this problem. This is only my opinion on how to solve it.

My thoughts on crime in Lincoln County are way too expansive and detailed for just one column, so I’ll just call this Part 1.

Stay tuned for Part 2…