Gun violence, community policing discussed at Hopkins Co. meeting

African American Coalition of Hopkins Co. discussing gun violence

HOPKINS CO., Ky. (WFIE) - During its annual meeting Tuesday, the African American Coalition of Hopkins County hosted a panel made up of local law enforcement and elected leaders.

A wide variety of issues were brought to the panel from community members including gun violence, along with the training of officers and dispatchers, plus community policing.

Less than a month ago, a mother was shot and killed at an Earlington gas station.

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Plus, in late August, five people (including a teenager) were shot at a Madisonville block party near the intersection of Elm Street and Pride Avenue.

“We ended up taking the car to the police station the next day for them to take the bullet and stuff out of the car," a woman who claims she witnessed the shooting said. "It just didn’t seem like anything was rushed.”

Madisonville Police Chief Steve Bryan, who was sworn in only days after that shooting, says he was part of the response that night and claimed it was the largest crime scene he has worked in 25 years which spanned 3-blocks. He added that their department is not currently fully staffed, and that the pandemic has temporarily shut down the state’s training academy.

“We have moved some of our targeted enforcement areas into those spots where the shootings have occurred just to try to put more visibility of police officers in that area to try to help prevent any type of thing like this in the future,” said Chief Bryan.

The sheriff’s office helped in this block party shooting investigation along with federal authorities. The chief is calling for anyone in the community with information to come forward.

There has also been at least one home shot at in recent police reports.

“It’s frustrating and very heartbreaking as well,” said Bill McReynolds, President of the African American Coalition of Hopkins County. “The question is, could it have been prevented? We may never know the answer to that question, but there is always the possibility that it could have awaken someone to do the right thing.”

This meeting, which is typically held in late spring or early summer, was pushed back to September.

Reynolds says COVID-19 played a part in the delay.

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