Smith County Finally Able To Get Into Troup

More drug arrests are expected in Troup over the next couple of days. Starting yesterday, the Troup Police Department and Smith County Sheriff's deputies went after 20 alleged drug dealers, catching 15. These are dealers the sheriff's department says they have tried to arrest for years.

Long time Troup residents say they feel much safter today knowing the town's major drug dealers are off the streets.

"We were just happy that the police department was active," said Shelly Wilson, Troup resident. "We are jumping for joy."

"I hope it will kind of be like a wake up call you know for the rest of the city and let them know that we are trying to turn the city back to something better," said Alice Harkless, Troup resident. Some of the drug dealers, the Smith County Sheriff's Department says have been around for years, but they could not get to them.

"We we unable to get into Troup because we didn't have the cooperation a couple of years ago we have now," said Smith County Sheriff J.B. Smith. "We just don't go into another persons presinct or another persons jurisdiction without working with that particular individual." Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham says the former Troup administration lead by Chief Chester Kennedy, who was arrested in March, never initiated any drug operations.

"We knew if like an idividual agency went down there on their own, Smith County has jurisdiction in Troup too, so if they went down there to try to initiate something, the minute they pulled into town everybody knew about it, so it was very difficult for them," said Bingham. Under new Troup police chief Pat Hendrix the relationship between the city and the sheriff's department has been restored.

"As of today we have an outstanding relationship with every agency in Smith County," said Smith. Which, Sheriff Smith says makes both the city and the county better off.

Molly Reuter, reporting.