The issue of crime in our community continues to generate discussion and headlines. While crime rates are much lower than they were a decade ago, or during 1997-1998 when the incidence of crime last peaked, we need to make more progress in crime fighting. Strong families, good jobs, and a solid educational system are important in preventing criminal activity. These are important factors, but I'm convinced that when the police and sheriff's departments and the prosecutor's office and court system work together with citizens, crime can also be prevented or at least dealt with effectively. I continue to hear reports from police officers that suspects they arrest on the street frequently seem to enter a "revolving door" system. Too many of those suspects are released without being prosecuted, even when—according to the police officers with whom I talk—there was good evidence that should have led to a conviction. That brings me to an important item on which we need to focus—the upcoming primary election for prosecutor. This is an especially important year for each of us to focus on the candidates for Allen County prosecutor. We need a prosecutor who is vigorous in taking suspects to court so that more of those suspects who are guilty are convicted and punished. This is the only way our city-county law enforcement system can work effectively. The officers of the Fort Wayne Police Dept. can't do their job without an effectively functioning Allen County Prosecutors office. My recommendation—be sure to vote in the May primary election and vote in May and November for the candidate for prosecutor who promises to get tough on crime.
Many Waynedale residents are benefiting from the installation of new water lines throughout the area. Believe me, completing those water department improvements is very important from my point of view. I've spent quite a bit of time during the last 6 years fielding telephone calls from frustrated citizens who were understandably sick and tired of having their white clothing turn brown due to the rusty water from old water lines. Now there is finally something that can be done about the problem. I recently learned that water line replacement is up from 2,500 feet to 13,400 feet city wide from 1999 to 2001. This is great progress!! Thanks to Mayor Graham Richard and Fort Wayne's water utility as well as to my fellow city council members for making possible these improvements for which I'd lobbied long and hard.
As we are all aware, the citizens of this state have become increasingly frustrated with drunk drivers who frequently cause accidents that injure innocent people. As a result of this anyone driving in the State of Indiana with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher can now be arrested and convicted of drunk driving. I've recently learned that city, county, and state police officials are being very aggressive in enforcing the new .08 law. As I understand it, it's relatively easy for someone drinking alcohol to reach that .08 level. The penalties can be fairly severe. Now more than ever—don't drink and drive—let the designated driver by the one who gets behind the wheel!
One other item: the winter has been fairly mild and as a result of this and the city's vigorous street crack sealing program there doesn't seem to be as many potholes as usual. On the other hand, my goal is to make the 4th Councilmanic District a "pothole-free zone"! If you find any potholes on our streets be sure to contact the Street Department at 427-1235 and potholes will be filled within 24 hours. Congratulations to Street Commissioner Bob Kennedy for a job well done!
Give me a call with any suggestions or concerns about our community!