After a reader asked about investigating "the underage drinking and the selling of drugs" at a downtown Richmond establishment, Rodney Richardson said the police department hasn't been called to that business at all in the past year for those complaints.
Richardson, assistant police chief at the Richmond Police Department, said there's no record of RPD officers being called to the business in question for drug trafficking or underage drinking complaints.
"Now, if somebody calls in and sends us something like that, we should send officers out, and there should be a record of it, so no, we haven't been called there," he said.
There are other records of police being called to the bar, such as for a domestic dispute and an attempt to locate, he added.
"One of the biggest issues that we run into is we hear that this has been happening here or that has been happening there, it builds up and escalates, but nobody has taken the time to report to us," Richardson said. "Everybody must think that somebody else is going to report it. … If they suspect drugs or suspect underage drinking, there's just so many ways to contact police."
For drug complaints, Richardson said, anonymous tips can be reported by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. RPD also has a tip line, 859-623-1714, and there's a toll free number to call -- 1-833-KY-HIDTA.
"They can do it anonymously if they like," Richardson said. "That's an option."
If someone suspects underage drinking, Richardson said, they can report it to the Kentucky Alcoholic Beverage Control enforcement in a few different ways. The ABC enforcement can be called at (888) 847-7222 or (502) 564-4850. People can also submit complaints online at dppweb.ky.gov/ABCSTAR27161/page/Enf_Submit_Complaint/portal.aspx; they can download a pdf from abc.ky.gov/Enforcement/Pages/default.aspx and email it to email@example.com; or complaints can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Written complaints can also be sent to Attn: Enforcement Division, Alcoholic Beverage Control, 1003 Twilight Trail, Frankfort, KY 40601-8400.
Underage drinking can also be reported to the Richmond Police Department, Richardson added.
"We have the actual investigators," he explained. "If they make the complaint to us, we work closely with the ABC, or we can investigate it ourselves."
When RPD receives drug complaints, Richardson said, the agency can investigate it alone, or the complaint can be sent to the drug task force. The task force is led by the Kentucky State Police, and it also includes employees from Berea Police Department, RPD, federal agencies and Madison County Sheriff's Office.
"It's everybody," Richardson said. "… And because it's led by KSP, every officer on that drug task force has statewide jurisdiction."
In addition to investigating complaints, RPD keeps record of when complaints are made and where, Richardson said. The agency can keep track of how many times officers are sent to a place along with the reasons why officers are repeatedly being called to the same location when people report incidents.
The reader who asked The Register to investigate possible drug trafficking and underage drinking at the downtown establishment also included in their submission that "a guy had overdosed and was laying on the sidewalk, and no one called for help for the poor guy."
According to Richardson, if someone sees a possible overdose, they should immediately call 911.
"Our response times are really quick," Richardson said. "Madison EMS response times are really quick. The most simple thing to do is call 911."
Richardson advised against people trying to help the person who possibly overdosed themselves and to wait for first responders.
"Just for safety, if you see someone, unless you're specifically trained in the medical field, just call 911," he said. "If you want to act, you can. … I can't tell people to not help someone, so if you feel comfortable doing it, that's up to you."
However, Richardson said officers have protective gear in the case there are uncapped syringes in the area, which could be a danger to an untrained civilian.
How to ask it
To submit something you want investigated by The Register, email email@example.com and send your questions with your name, city, zip code, email and phone number. Questions can also be mailed in: Richmond Register c/o Ask It Madison County, PO Box 99, Richmond, KY, 40475.
The Register will make attempts to answer or find answers to all questions. If similar questions are asked, readers may be asked to vote on which topic they want investigated.
Reach Sara Kuhl at 624-6626; follow her on Twitter @saraekuhl.