Trey Kay Published

Us & Them: A Policeman is a Person in Your Neigh-bor-hood!


Two rivers run through Charleston, West Virginia. While most of the city is situated on the Kanawha, it’s the Elk River that demarcates the West Side from the governmental and business center of Charleston. Today, the West Side is the poorest neighborhood in Charleston.

As you might imagine, those demographics lead to others: higher crime, higher drug activity, higher incarceration rates. Many people in other parts of Charleston think of the West Side as a dangerous place to avoid.

And yet, Corporal Errol Randle received $50,000 from a program called West Invest to purchase a dilapidated house on the West Side, fix it up, and move in with his family. He moved to the West Side in 2015; now there are 3 cops living in the same neighborhood.

When I first heard about this, I wanted to know: who are these guys who are willing to do this? I mean, I can see wanting do something to help the West Side, too, but — would I be willing to move there to be a part of that change?

On this week’s episode of the “Us & Them” podcast: two different views of what police are, and two different views of how a community can determine its own destiny.

From West Virginia Public Broadcasting and PRX, this is “Us & Them,” the podcast where we tell the stories about America’s cultural divides.

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This episode is part of a series made possible with financial assistance from the West Virginia Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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