HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – Chief Karl Colder comes to Huntington as the city’s first African American Police Chief. He has decades of experience that he plans to use to help tackle some of the city’s biggest issues, most notably, his experience with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which will assist in the opioid crisis in the city and state.
“Highest overdose rate per capita. And I looked at the resources we had throughout the state of West Virginia and I said ‘this isn’t enough,'” said Colder.
He says the city does have a lot of good going for it, but it will take an army to combat crime, drugs and other ongoing problems.
“It’s going to take resources, it’s going to take collaboration and I think we have things going on in the area but now let’s put it all together and share information,” he added.
People who reside in Huntington say the biggest issue is drug trafficking.
“The drugs is like the major thing around here. Cause I grew up in Huntington and when you’re from Huntington, it’s only a few things that you’re going to end up doing. You’re either going to get a career and do the right thing. Or you’re going to do drugs, or sell drugs,” said Ian Vickers.
And students at Marshall add that they constantly get alerts from the university, warning them of crime. “It’s kind of scary that you’ll get those texts that say like stay away from that place, or they’ll say a suspect is on the run so avoid that area,” said Shyanna Ashcraft, a senior at the university.
But the city’s first African American chief hopes to strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and the community. “How we treat the public; how we view the public and hopefully you can get this message across that we are for the safety of the people,” said Colder.