LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – After a man was shot to death in the middle of West Kentucky Street a half-block from Brandeis Elementary School, WAVE 3 News decided to investigate what's going on in that neighborhood. Parents of Brandeis students already know the findings of our investigation because they received a letter about it Thursday from Jefferson County Public Schools.
"I don't do nothing, no," said Clarence Woods as he walked out of his home.
"So you say there's no drug dealing going on in this house," I asked.
"There's no drug dealing going on in this house," said Woods.
That's all Woods wanted to say about what's going on at 2608 West Kentucky Street, where on March 1, Louisville Metro police served a search warrant and found a large amount of cash and drugs less than one block from Brandeis Elementary School. They filed felony drug trafficking charges against Woods.
This is the same Clarence Woods who racked up pages of drug charge dismissals and convictions and breaks, like getting shock probated just months into a five-year prison sentence for cocaine trafficking. He was locked back up a month later for a probation violation.
With a resume of danger like that and Jefferson County's oldest elementary school magnet program a half -block away, has anything changed? I spent hours secretly recording and found 2608 West Kentucky is still a magnet, as well.
No matter the time of day, I watched as people of all ages came to the side door. They spent a few minutes inside and then walked away. One person every few minutes -- as many as 20 people per hour. There were so many people that they often formed lines, passing each other coming and going. There were so many customers, sometimes they had to wait. Often, the people who went inside placed what they came out with inside their mouths. Police say that's a common practice in case they have to swallow the evidence.
The people who came to 2608 West Kentucky came by car, by bike and by foot. Some knocked first; others looked around and went right in. Some customers waited a long time before someone appeared and the hand-to-hand transactions began.
"I've been watching and recording. It's unbelievable the amount of people coming and going with money," I said to Woods.
"I have a wrecker service," Woods responded. "I do mechanic work."
During my time there, I never saw the wrecker move once, but people moved fast when they left. When I tried to ask one woman what she was doing, she fled and sped, and I couldn't keep up.
"The proof's in the video right there," said Major Bill Kristofeck, commander of the Second Division of the Louisville Metro Police Department, after I showed my video to him. "We had a meeting in Victory Park in the summer, and all we got were great reviews. All said it's safe down here."
"Our schools try to be very aware of neighborhood situations because there are times where these neighborhood situations can be brought to the bus stop or school," said Ben Jackey, a spokesman for Jefferson County Public Schools. "So this situation with Brandeis… there are areas of concern when it comes to crime around Brandeis."
Jackey said JCPS relies on police to tell them about dangers like this. Metro police say they rely largely on citizen tips.
"We can't sit on each one for 24/7," said Kristofeck. "We do the best we can, check them, then go to the next one. And at this address that you told us about on Kentucky, we have had no complaints about that, no investigation at this time. We will now, after talking with you, but this is the first we've heard of that."
Kristofeck said his division just spent a lot of overtime money in that area on extra patrols -- not in squad cars, but on foot, bikes or ATVs. He believes a lot of people are still afraid to call 502-574-LMPD, the department's anonymous crime tip line. However, Kristofeck said callers can trust police and will remain anonymous.