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Thurs., Jan. 9, 1997

Letter from the Editor

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By Steve Patterson

We've been trying to experiment with the use of color photographs in the
paper. It has not happened as fast as I would like, but it is coming
I had a roll of color film I needed processing overnight Monday, so i
gave it to our sports cub reporter Richard Acosta with these careful
instructions; "Now Richard, I want you to take this film to an overnight
processor in Odesa. Explain to them that we must have the film tomorrow
"Also Richard, "I cautioned, "The roads are going to be icy in the
morning. So I want you to get an early start (he live in Odessa) and be
careful out on those roads...It'll be dangerous... I don't want
something like a wreck to keep me from getting that film."
He shook his head eager-beaver style.
Sure enough, Richard called early Tuesday morning to tell his boss taht
ther had been a problem with the film at Wal-Mart. They assured him that
if he could wait until 9 a.m., the color photographs would be ready. I
told him to cool his heels and come in when he had the film.
About that time, the call came in about the big semi-rig pileup on the
interstate near Barstow, so I left the office in search of photographs.
Upon my return to the office I was greeted by a visibly shaken Acosta.
"You almost got me in trouble...why didn't you tell me what was in those
pictures?" he asked, obviously a little put-out with me.
I had forgotten to tell Acosta that he carried a photographic record of
the big dope bust from this past week. On the film were close-ups of
illegal drugs, stacks of ill-gotten cash, hypodermic needles, weapons
and other unsavory items confiscated by police.
Wal-Mart had called Acosta and told him the film was ready to be
picked-up. The photo clerk also notified the Odessa law enforcement
authorities, who had more than a few questions for the unsuspecting
Acosta about the contents of the film.
I told Acosta when he started work for me that I would issue him a press
card, but that he should understand that a press card and a bright,
shiny quarter would not evern get hime a cup of coffee. In this case,
his press credentials did manage to pull him out of a jam.
I'll say this for Acosta, at least he managed to keep his car on the
road and did deliver the film as promised. I would have hated to dig
through a snow bank in search of it.

Common sense would dictate that a newspaper photographer should never
take a photograph of undercover officers as they go about their job.
However, I was surprised to find out that the Texas Department of Public
Safety has a policy agains having their drug-sniffing dogs photographed.
Last week I was told by a K-9 Unit officer, "You can take all the
pictures of me that you want, but don't take any of the's
department policy."

Was it my imagination, or did I hear shouts of joy and jubilation from
mothers all across Monahans Wednesday morning when they foudn out that
the schools would open in spite of snow?
Credit should go to Acting Superintendent Mike Fletcher.

After hearing Librarian Bonnie Moore give a presentation at the Lion's
Club Tuesday, I want to urge everybody to look under their beds and
behind the night tables for overdue or lost library books.
The library is a valuable resource for this community and losing
$2,000-plus in books per year doesn't help matters.

Monahan's Well:

By Jerry Curry

Monahans police send bid message of Black Friday

Police Chief Dave Watts and his people have a right to walk a little
proud and maybe tell a story or two because of what they did. They saw a
problem, looked at it, came up with some options, followed proper police
procedure and then keyed a big message.
"If you're in the dope business, you're in trouble."
With the assistance of the sheriff's offices in Ward and Reeves
counties, the Pecos Police Department, the Texas Department of Public
Safety and State Parks and Wildlife agents, Monahans policy struck a
major blow at the slime that oozes through the underground economy of
the dope trade.
This group of law enforcement officers turned Jan. 3 into Black Friday
for the dopers.
As they moved quickly and deliberately through Ward County, Dave Watts'
message, as carried by strike coordinator Monahans Police Lt. Charles
Sebastian, got louder:
"If you're in the dope business, you're in trouble."
Carrying an armful of arrest warrants, the law enforcement team did just
Before it was over, Watt's shock troops had arrested 14 people and were
looking for four more. They seized cash, marijuana and cocaine, rifles
and pistols, and a lot of property suspected to have been stolen,
including several weed-eaters.
As the chief said, any of the property that has been stolen and can be
returned to the rightful owners will be, the rest will be sold and the
funds will be placed in the police department's seizure fund for further
narcotics investigations. This means more resources to respond to
comparable attacks on the public safety.
And those extra dollars will mean the chief's message will be broadcast
in SurroundSound:
"If you're in the dope business, you're in trouble."
There absolutely is no doubt that the federal government's much
ballyhooed War on Drugs was lost before it started.
Maybe its because they don't know how to fight it.
You gather evidence.
You make arrests.
And if you make enough arrests, even if they do walk after a short stay
in jail and don't come to trial for a while, you have crippled the
Just like any other business, the bottom line is profit.
If bail and lawyer's fees are absorbing the profit, it becomes a matter
of common sense not to do the business.

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Copyright 1997 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314

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