VAN BUREN COUNTY, Ark. – There is a new sheriff in town in Van Buren County. He says in his first 90 days in office, he’s focused on getting drugs off the street.
For her whole life, Carolyn Sue Allen has called Van Buren County home. In her hometown, she says, she sees the best and worst of it.
“The drug problem here in this county is terrible. It’s really really bad,” Allen said.
She says it has even hit her personally. “I had a nephew get killed about 20 years ago. It was because he owed someone for drug money.”
That perception is something Sheriff Lucas Emberton is focused on turning around. “It’s time for us to step in and try to take control of the narcotic situation.”
The sheriff took office January 1. About 90 days in, he says his department has made a handful of busts already.
“We have been attacking that aggressively here in our city and our county. We’re going to continue that while I’m in office,” Emberton said.
The sheriff’s office is even adding drug dogs. It’s something they haven’t had for years.
“We can start cleaning up our streets a little better and we’ll have more resources with our K-9 program,” he said.
He says drugs are not only a safety issue. He says if they don’t get it under control, the community will have trouble with growth.
“If they are going to bring in economic development, we have to be able to provide protection for the families and the workers,” Emberton said.
Allen is hopeful the sheriff can get the job done because he has big shoes to fill.
“I’m hoping he’s the Clint Eastwood for Van Buren County,” Allen said.