Police increasing security at Dreamland Pool
KENOVA -- Kenova Police are stepping up their presence at Dreamland Pool to send a message that the public space will remain family friendly throughout the season.
Police Chief Ray Mossman said his officers have been making regular stops at the summer hotspot to make sure everything is running smoothly after getting reports from pool staff that people have been doing drugs at the pool, sometimes in front of children.
He said one incident involved two ladies shooting heroin while one of them had a child in her arms.
These types of reports have lead officers to start doing bag checks at the entry of the pool. They've posted signs letting people know that if they want to use the public space they are subject to search.
Mossman said the pool prohibits certain items such as glass containers, knives and alcohol. If someone is carrying such an item, it's confiscated until the end of the day.
Those who carry illegal substances on pool grounds could be arrested or cited. Those people also are banned from coming back to the pool.
The bag checks started after someone brought 30 grams of marijuana to the pool on May 26. Mossman posted about it to the Kenova PD Facebook page, saying "enough is enough."
A few days later, the department posted four signs at the pool about checking bags and what would happen if anyone is caught fighting -- up to a $500 fine and/or 30 days in jail. Mossman is keeping the public updated on Facebook about some of the incidents, including officers seizing knives on two different people and taking cigarettes away from kids.
Seven incidents have resulted in drug-related misdemeanor arrests or citations, including the most recent, which happened on Tuesday. Mossman posted on Facebook that someone was found snorting drugs in the pool's bathroom.
Mossman said he heard these types of incidents have happened at the pool during past summers, but he is working to publicize it to deter people from thinking they can get away with such activity.
"We want the ones bringing it in to know we're looking for them," he said. "And the employees are working hand-in-hand with us to make it a better place for families."
Mossman said he has heard some complaints about the bag checks, but the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.
"Families want to go there and have a good time," he said. "If you don't want to be searched, turn around and go away. We're not making you do it. I think the people want to be safe and they know in today's world a lot of people are doing things they shouldn't be doing. We're trying to do the right thing."
Follow reporter Kristi Murphy on Twitter, @Kristi_Murphy.
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