Residents demand criminals be held accountable in Richardsville meeting with sheriff

RICHARDSVILLE, Ky. – Sheriff Brett Hightower hosted a meeting in Richardsville Tuesday night after community members expressed concern about thefts in the area.

The meeting got heated a few times as the citizens expressed their concerns and frustration with what they perceive as a revolving door  in the justice system, seeing the same people get arrested, serving very little time and repeating their behavior time and time again.

“I’m the one out, the community is the one out. My kids are scared to go to bed at night because somebody stole a vehicle out of my driveway,” said one attendee.

“Gotten in trouble, gotten in trouble, gotten out, working the system. It needs to stop!” said Heather Hahne, an attendee.

Bail, bond and the justice system.

The main talk of a meeting hosted in Richardsville between the Warren County sheriff and the community members of Richardsville.

“I don’t know how to solve it besides getting these hooligans off the streets. And it feels like the justice system is letting us down,” said Hahne.

The citizens now want to speak with the local judges after learning that law enforcement has no more decision making power after an arrest is made.

One man said he caught people outside of his house that he thought might be trying to steal and confronted them.

“We’ve been having a lot of break ins around here and we aren’t going to deal with it no more” said another attendee.

Several members at the meeting said they would use their firearm if necessary, in the future.

Hightower suggested the citizens make a neighborhood watch group online to report strange activity not only to the police but also to each other.

Warren County Magistrate Mark Young also attended the meeting.

“People are frustrated and rightfully. No one likes to have their personal property stolen but I also think that people came to understand that we’re going to have to do this collectively as a community to stop some of the stuff,” said Young.

Some community members asked why certain people weren’t arrested, to which Hightower explained without proper evidence, an arrest cannot be made, even when people think they know who committed the crime. In one example a man said his truck was found on someone else’s property and he wanted to understand why no arrests were made.

“We have to have probable cause” said Hightower.

“My trucks there! What else do you need?” said the man with the stolen truck.

“Let me ask you this, how many people were at that house?” said Hightower.

“Two,” said the man with the stolen truck.

“Which one stole it?” said Hightower.

“Take them both!” said the man with the stolen truck.

“We all have certain rights and innocent until proven guilty is one of those rights. The sheriffs’ departments are limited to, you know, arrests based on a lot of that stuff. They have rules they have to follow too. So I think a lot of that got explained tonight,” said Young.

“I think it was a good educational experience. I think that was the best thing from it,” said Brad Barron, another attendee.

Some members felt the meeting went well; others feel that the sheriff’s office should still be doing more for their community.

Hightower also explained that he has an open-door policy with the members of his community and plans to continue speaking with citizens about their concerns and thoughts throughout the rest of his time in office.