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Crime plagues Fayetteville park named for fallen police officer

Posted February 23, 2015

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— A park named for a Fayetteville police officer killed in the line of duty 14 years ago is a haven for drug deals and prostitution, according to neighbors, who complain that police aren't doing enough to clean up the area.

"My concern is that, if nothing is done to stop it, it's just going to get worse," James Popp, who lives across the street from Roy G. Turner Jr. Park, on Blanton Road, said Monday.

Popp served in the 82nd Airborne Division with Turner's father, and he now uses a telescope to spot people in the park committing crimes.

"You've got the prostitution going on outside the cars, inside the cars, hand-to-hand drug dealing going on in the park," he said.

Popp said he called 911 nearly 50 times last year to report crimes in the park. He said he stopped calling about drug deals he's observed when one officer who responded never got out of his patrol car to investigate.

"So, we just said, you know what, we're not going to put ourselves in danger calling for drugs anymore because it just didn't work. I mean, we can't gift wrap the drug dealers any more than we already have," he said.

Fayetteville police Capt. Jay Devon said officers patrol Turner Park every day, but the crimes happen so quickly that it's hard to press charges.

"A lot of times, it's a three- or four-minute crime that occurs, and by the time the officer gets there, the actual act itself is actually over. So, there's no criminal activity when we arrive," Devon said.

Police plan to replace two fake cameras mounted on a light pole in the park to discourage crime with real cameras that can be monitored at police headquarters, Devon said. The video will help police collect their own evidence and dispatch officers while crimes are in progress, he said.

Until then, Popp said, he plans to keep looking through his telescope and reporting what he sees.

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  • Steve Faulkner Feb 24, 2015
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    So now even the police say when seconds count, they are only minutes away.