By Sam Conner
A group of approximately 20 persons met Aug. 15 at the Winslow Police Station for a strategic planning session on how to handle the problems related to alcohol and drug abuse. At the meeting were Winslow police officers, including Chief Steve Garnett, Fire Chief James Hernandez, representatives of Community Bridges led by Sharon Macedo, persons representing the Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe, and other interested citizens.
Leading much of the discussion was Army Master Sergeant Stefanie Jefferson from Flagstaff. She told an interesting story from her own experience and did a masterful job of keeping the discussion going in a positive direction.
The meeting began with everyone introducing themselves, and telling why they were there and what they wanted to accomplish.
Next the group undertook to determine what the problems were and what a solution would be. Most of the time was then spent trying to determine why Winslow has the problem here and why it is a problem.
It was noted that there is an abundance of alcohol available in Winslow, with quite a few bars, and many convenience and grocery stores which sell alcoholic products. Some said that much of the town’s problems are not from residents, but from transients who do not actually live in the community. Some said that the transient problem was because of the city’s location near reservations where alcohol is not sold, and people come from there to where it can be purchased and wind up staying.
Robert Carr, who was a founding member of the task force, was not at the meeting, but was remembered as running a program to deal with transients by getting them to return home and their families to keep them there.
Members of the task force were asked to think about possible solutions and the drug problem, which was not really addressed in much detail at this meeting.
By Sam Conner