Pubdate: Sat, 23 Aug 2008
Source: Sault Star, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2008 The Sault Star
Author: Brian Kelly


Two Officers Added To Street Team

A beefed-up city police street team wants to hunt down drug dealers 
and put them behind bars.

Two more constables were quietly added to the four-person unit in May.

"I feel that more enforcement is necessary," said Chief Bob Davies Friday.

"We have a drug problem in this town and it needs police attention. 
We felt that it was necessary to increase our resources for that."

He predicts the move will result in "a significant rise" in drug 
charges in 2008.

"We're going after the suppliers and the dealers and hopefully we can 
get them off of the street," said Davies.

By putting a strain on drug supply, he hopes addicts will get 
treatment. That, in turn, will reduce the number of violent and 
property crimes spurred by users needing cash to pay drug debts or 
for their next fix.

In early 2006, more than a half-dozen corner stores and gas bars were 
robbed in a span of weeks. Many of those thefts, said Davies, were 
drug related.

In 2007, 193 adults and youth were charged with drug possession in 
Sault Ste. Marie.

The increased enforcement is "awesome" said the co-ordinator of the 
Focus Community Coalition.

With fewer drugs available, "there's no pressure" for youth to take 
them, said Donna Boston. Students in Grades 7 to 12 are at most risk 
of drug use.

"Anything to reduce the amount of drugs in the city is going to be 
better," she said.

Prescription drugs such as Oxycontin and Ritalin are used by city 
teens to get high.

"A lot of times people are known to be on those types of drugs. 
They'll get broken into," said Boston.

"Drug dealers take them and then they sell them to these kids for parties."

The street team, created in 2004 and comprising of one sergeant and 
three constables, was intended as a jack-of-all-trades unit. Its 
members would be assigned to the city police department's most 
pressing needs, such as a scourge of break and enters in 2005.

The two new street team members were reassigned from the Joint Forces 
Intelligence Unit and Joint Forces Drug Unit.
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