Pubdate: Fri, 26 Oct 2007
Source: Observer, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2007, OSPREY Media Group Inc.
Author: Shawn Jeffords
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


Ordinary citizens have a big role to play in reducing illegal drug 
use, says a top regional enforcement officer.

Speaking in Sarnia on Thursday, OPP Western Region Det. Staff Sgt. 
Patti Dobbin said tips from the public are key to getting drugs off 
the street, which in turn reduces the overall crime rate.

"At times some tips can be a bit vague, but sometimes they can be the 
piece of the puzzle you need to make a case," she told an 
appreciation luncheon for Sarnia-Lambton Crime Stoppers.

Dobbin, who oversees a 15-county region, said police are seeing an 
increased level of sophistication in marijuana grow operations.

She also rejected pot's reputation as a relatively benign drug.

"When I hear people say it's 'just' marijuana it kind of irks me," 
she said. "We're finding that organized crime is behind a lot of 
grow-ops and they are better equipped and armed than us at times."

Dobbin described a farmer near Minden, Ont. who was hunting recently 
and came upon men harvesting a marijuana crop. Fearing they would be 
turned in, the men started shooting and narrowly missed the farmer, 
who escaped on his ATV.

"We're encountering booby traps. These groups have access to 
helicopters and have even dressed as police officers," she said.

Locally, police act on tips regularly to root out drug suppliers, 
said Lambton OPP Const. and Crime Stoppers co-ordinator Mark Dew. 
Having Dobbin speak about her work on the front lines helps residents 
understand why their tips are important, he said.

"This is a worthwhile endeavour and it's working in our community. 
People have a role to play in making their neighbourhoods safe."

The annual luncheon was held at the Dante Club to thank sponsors and 
participants in fundraising for Crime Stoppers.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman