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Chief admits police can't fight drug problems alone

NEW RICHMOND, Ohio (Rich Jaffe) -- Startling revelations from a local police chief who admitted his community, like many others, was simply overwhelmed with the problems created by heroin.

A local police chief was looking for new answers to an old problem, heroin.  A veteran law enforcement officer, New Richmond police chief Randy Harvey took over as chief in late 2009.  But what he said about the heroin plague in his community was unlike any conversation you've ever heard from law enforcement.

Business owners and residents of a tiny riverside village have been working hard in the last few years to clean up the community.  They've put their first K-9 drug dog, Gator, on the street and started walking foot patrols.  But underneath all the positive efforts, heroin's gnawing away at the community.

Chief Randy Harvey explained, "We have drug overdoses and heroin deaths here way too much for a small village.  And when that occurs really there's no prosecution at all.  Nothing comes of it, here's no charges, no investigation because it just simply isn't going to go anywhere."

Chief Harvey said that was because every facet of the legal system was overloaded with drug cases.  He said many of the drug problems in his village can be isolated to 10 specific properties, like the one on Front Street.

The location on Front Street brought on problem after problem after problem.  There was a list of police dispatches to the building since 2009.  There was a total of 264 dispatches for police to come to the home on Front Street and deal with problems.  Marie MacFarland owns a building across the street where a man she said is a known drug dealer recently kicked in the door of an apartment to attack the resident.  She and the chief said many of those running drugs are now young females on bicycles.

Marie told Local 12, "They come out in the middle of the street and then they pass it off and then they scatter.  These dealers promise you the world and then give you death."

Frustrated and searching for answers, Chief Harvey's invited the attorney general's office to meet with community leaders on Thursday.

He said, "This is bigger than law enforcement and law enforcement alone is not going to solve this problem at all."

The heroin problem was not isolated to New Richmond.  It can be found in every community right now.  But what was extraordinary was the transparency that Chief Harvey provided on the problem.

Since New Richmond's K-9 started in January, he and his handler Craig Heintzleman have made 40 drug arrests.

The meeting Thursday evening has strong support from the New Richmond business community and will be held at 6p.m. at the old school building.

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