WALLAND (WATE) - Two friends who grew up together in Blount County want to take back their community from criminals. They've organized a community group called "Take Back Walland" to work with local law enforcement.
Running the drug dealers out of Walland is their first priority. The Blount County Sheriff's Office has already busted 14 meth labs in the first six months of this year, compared with 11 during all of last year.
Lifelong friends Jeff Barbra and Eric Keeble want criminals to know that their community is coming together.
"We had a couple of meth labs busted between our houses within a month or so and it became very obvious somebody needs to step in and do something," Barbra said.
"When I grew up here, not just my grandparents but even my parents, we didn't lock the doors to our cars. We didn't lock the doors on our homes," said Keeble.
Now he's raising his own family here.
"The guy on the other side of the road, a few months back, somebody stole his boat in broad daylight out of his driveway. The criminals, they're getting too brave and the citizens are becoming too scared," Keeble said.
When they called the Blount County Sheriff's Office for help, Sgt. Jarrod Millsaps responded right away.
"I live in that area so it's very important to me that other folks want to get involved, not just police officers or law enforcement, but the community wants to get involved," Millsaps said.
He urges neighbors to report any and all suspicious activity.
"When folks are coming in and out at all hours of the night, staying three or four minutes at a time, that's something to look for, that's something we want to know about," Millsaps said.
Keeble and Barbra said they'll keep working with deputies, and their neighbors.
"We've just started kind of spreading the word to neighbors. Knocking on doors more, hey, remember me? I'm so and so's cousin. People don't talk as much any more," Keeble said.
Barbra and Keeble said social media is really helping their cause. They're urging everyone to sign up for a new technology called TipSoft that allows you to submit crime tips to law enforcement through a computer or cell phone and receive alerts if something happens in your area.
Crews were called to 608 Equestrian Circle in the Blount County section of Seymour just after 3:00 a.m. Monday morning for what was originally a robbery call. Once officers arrived, they discovered an active meth lab.More >>
Five people are facing charges after an early morning meth lab bust in Seymour. Crews were called to 608 Equestrian Circle in the Blount County section of Seymour just after 3:00 a.m.More >>