Just a few short weeks ago, Sikeston Public Safety officers conducted a day-long roundup of primarily drug offenders. Last week, it was Mississippi County's turn. And this week, Cape Girardeau County.
Nearly 100 suspects were arrested on a variety of drug-related charges in the three roundups.
First, these massive, coordinated operations show there is a serious drug problem in our region as well as across the country.
And it also shows that law enforcement in our small rural area is as sophisticated and in touch as any around.
For that we should be proud.
But the work of law enforcement is the first step.
The important part of this story is how the courts in our area will treat these offenders.
If the courts hand down simple "slaps" to the wrists of these offenders, then the cycle will continue again and again.
You deter crime by sending a clear signal that these activities will not be tolerated. And when caught, the consequences will be severe and appropriate.
I was reading a blog out of Cape Girardeau this week where the author was wondering why law enforcement would put so much effort into controlling drug traffic. The author's argument was that once these criminals are removed from society, others will simply fill the void in the drug trade.
The author may indeed be right. But the author is also woefully wrong.
If left unchecked, then how in the world are we to control the flow of drugs, guns and violence that strikes this area as well as others?
To ignore this underbelly of society is a losing proposition.
We should commend law enforcement for their efforts and for taking the needed risks that keep our communities safer.
There will be more roundups. That much is a guarantee, a promise and a certainty.
Those who traffic in drugs need to relocate their "business" elsewhere. Our communities do not want you and law enforcement is smarter than you are.
We don't pretend that our region will ever be drug free. But when you turn the heat up a notch or two, drug dealers will find their "business plan" does not work in this area.
It's just a matter of time.