Huntington Mayor Speaks Out About Viral Prayer Request Video

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- We first told you about a viral video from Huntington Mayor Steve Williams last week.

The mayor is asking for a prayer request as part of the holistic approach to fighting crime and drugs in Huntington.

He said the video came together after he spoke with a group of ministers he meets with regularly.

The mayor said they discussed the growing drug and crime problem in Huntington and how important each community is to fighting it.

Williams said on top of law enforcement, recovery programs and neighborhood associations, it was time to reach out to the faith-based community.

"There's a level of addiction in our city, in our region that is taking us down and frankly we're trying everything that we know possible," Williams said.

It's a plea spreading across social media.

Williams is calling on the faith-based community to pray in the fight against drugs and crime.

"Anybody who's from here knows that a part of the fabric of our community is our faith," he said.

Williams said there's a renewed call for action on every front.

"Some of the letters that I was receiving are just heartbreaking, saying please mayor do something to help us take back our neighborhood," Williams said.

His viral video still garners both positive and negative comments and shares. He asks for prayer Sept. 7 for the safety of law enforcement officers, recovery for addicts and for dealers to get out of the business.

"I'm surprised, it was intended to give it to the ministers and let them share it," he said.

The video hit the web after he announced the hiring of 10 police officers and dozens of arrests in the latest "Operation: River to Jail".

Just last week, the most recent efforts landed several more arrests.

Huntington city leaders said 35 new arrest warrants were issued and nine people were arrested from that list.

"You notice, we went in to even an affluent area where we had a bust as well, so the point is, it's happening all over our town," Williams said.

He said the problem goes deeper than dealers.

"We're still left with a legion of people who are addicted to drugs," he said.

So he points to something that's helped him overcome his own personal battles to thrust the city forward: his faith.

"I'm a flawed man and you learn from your mistakes," Williams said.

The mayor said this video isn't meant to be political. He said he hasn't even shared it on his own Facebook page.

His hope is that ministers can take it from here and help raise awareness within the community.

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