DC Criminal Defense Lawyer

DC Police Drug Unit Disbanded

Ten or fifteen years ago, disbanding a group of cops tasked with enforcing street-level drug laws would have been a tragedy. Now, as Washington D.C. experiences lower crime rates and a changed drug market, it seems like the most logical thing to do.

Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier has disbanded “Strike Force”, a street-level drug unit under the Narcotics and Special Investigations Division, and is sending the 30 or so officers back to patrol districts. This, she says, is because the department has virtually won the war on open-air drug markets and needs to localize efforts to prevent crime overall.

“My biggest bang for the buck is having those [officers] back in the districts,” said Lanier according to the Washington Post. “My single biggest problem right now is not drugs. It’s gangs focusing around other criminal enterprises.”

96.WeCanEndAIDS.WhiteHouse.WDC.24July2012Homicide rates in the city are at a level not seen since the Leave It To Beaver era. And this is due, in part, to a decreased drug market. Open air, hand-to-hand, and even drive-up drug dealers have dropped considerably in the past few years. This liberal drug market fueled crime and violence, and helped push the murder rate up. Now, however, drug deals aren’t so blatant and are largely taking place indoors, arranged via mobile phones and social media.

“Compared to that time, we have 75 to 80 percent fewer open-air drug markets,” said Lanier. This is progress, to be sure, but some community leaders want to make certain the police don’t forget about their areas—where drugs remain a problem.

“They don’t own the neighborhood like they used to, but they’re still a fixture,” said Monica Green, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in the Brightwood area. “Can I complain and say the police haven’t done a good job? No. Do I wish they could do more? Yes.”

Sending officers directly to the areas where they are needed most, maintains Lanier, will ensure that those neighborhoods still experiencing problems will have the attention needed. She says the change doesn’t mean a reduced attention to drug enforcement, simply a change in approaches.

If you are accused of a drug offense, whether in the city or even in nearby Baltimore, we may be able to help. Whether it’s distributing crack-cocaine or possession of heroin, you have rights. Contact our offices today to discuss your case and the legal options available to you. 

photo by: Elvert Barnes
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This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 15th, 2013 at 6:27 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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