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Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down: Dec. 13

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Police handle strange 911 robbery call well

Danville police handled a uniquely weird situation Saturday night, when dispatchers got a call from a pair of men who, unaware they had dialed 911, seemed to be discussing the possibility of committing a robbery.

In a weird twist on an already weird story, it turned out that the men were in a vehicle behind a restaurant where Police Chief Tony Gray was eating.

Police ultimately arrested the men and charged them with public intoxication. Further charges are possible once a prosecutor listens to the 911 tape.

The human interest aspect of this story will no doubt make it interesting for many as state and perhaps national news wires pick it up. But for us here in Danville, it’s a good example of the strange situations police can find themselves in on a daily basis.

No case is ever exactly the same and officers never know what they may be walking into. As they approached the vehicle behind Brothers BBQ Saturday night, police could have found a pair of teenagers playing a prank, or a pair of for-real robbers armed to the teeth. Instead, it seems they found something in between.

This one case happened to get a headline, but law enforcement deals with uncertainty like this all the time. They always have to be thinking on their feet.

We think this case demonstrates good restraint and investigation by Danville police. No shots were fired, no Taser was deployed; the suspects were located and arrested, but police didn’t level excessive charges. Instead, they will wait to see what the evidence proves.

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Drug overdoses continue to plague Boyle

Two recent deaths, both apparent drug overdoses, have been blamed on the powerful opioid fentanyl by the Boyle County Sheriff’s Office.

Test results are not back and won’t be for a while, so officially the causes of death are not known. But while we can’t say for sure what killed those two people, we do know that drug overdoses are on the rise, as are deaths from those overdoses.

There’s no magic solution out there that will fix this problem. It also cannot be ignored. Society pretended addiction was a moral failing of strangers for a long time and it was only ever counterproductive. It’s time to acknowledge addiction for what it is: a disease that’s attacking our friends and family members.

There are definitely steps we can take — some we’re taking, some we’re not — that would help reduce the problem.

But every person is different and their situations are all unique. What helps one person beat their addiction may hurt another.

At the government level, we need to keep taking steps one at a time that improve our public policy on average.

At the individual level, we should be treating each person with respect. And we should be reminding each other — and ourselves — that drug addicts are not “others;” they’re people just like us.

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BCHS students bring Santa to KSD

Boyle County High School students Ellie Begley, Abbey Hotchkiss, Shelby Moore and AdrienVan Steenlandt deserve a pat on the back for their visit to the Kentucky School for the Deaf on Friday.

The students came dressed as Santa, elves and a reindeer and brought gifts for every student at KSD.

Students got holiday socks, candy and more, whether or not they were able to attend school that day.

The four high-schoolers undertook the project for their AP government class, but they clearly didn’t do it just to get a grade.

For spreading cheer and setting a good example of how community-minded people act, they each get a thumbs up.

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Holiday Inn Express opens on bypass

The new Holiday Inn Express in Danville opened last week, adding 76 to the available rooms in the city.

Numbers such as occupancy rates suggest the rooms were badly needed. It took just over a year from groundbreaking to opening for the new hotel, which includes a conference center and pool.

It’s good to see the market respond so quickly and efficiently to this supply-and-demand issue. We were critical in the past of tax incentives provided by local governments, and we still think the hotel would have happened with or without them. Regardless, this is still a good thing for the local economy in the long run.

It’s also nice to know Danville has added some jobs now — and possibly more later — in the growing service economy.

Service-sector jobs are thankfully somewhat insulated from the ongoing march of automation, which has decimated the availability of manufacturing jobs nationwide. Robots won’t be handing us our room keys or making our beds any time soon.

Service jobs aren’t as high-paying as factory jobs once were, but least they’re not going to disappear.