Pubdate: Fri, 29 May 2009
Source: Western Star, The (CN NF)
Copyright: 2009 The Western Star
Author: Cory Hurley
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Canada)


Combating illegal drug activity and creating safer streets for the
motoring public are the primary goals of the Corner Brook RNC in
creating safer communities through policing excellence.

Acting superintendent Calvin Barrett said those particular issues are
the most prominent currently facing officers in the city. He said the
police force is tackling them by planning and preparing, through
public awareness, and taking enforcement action.

Barrett told members of the Corner Brook Rotary Club Thursday that
drugs are a community problem and public awareness and support is a

He referenced last week's arrest of three young men and the seizure of
49 pounds of marijuana and $38,000 in cash as an example of its
prevalence in the community.

There are three levels of operation in partnership with the RCMP,
including intelligence gathering, street level drug teams, and
targetting the higher level traffickers.

"This unit aims its efforts at the smaller trafficker who usually
sells their product to the user," he said, referring to the street
level drug team. "They are the guys up at the school parking lots
selling to our kids.

"You can find them anywhere. Chances are there is one living on your
street or in your neighbourhood, a very likely chance. The bust last
week was two doors down from one of our members. They are sitting in
there, selling 40-plus pounds of marijuana, when a policeman lives two
doors away."

The higher level of traffickers are the ones who bring in the drugs
from outside the province and country, he said.

"Drug trafficking is a lucrative, illegal business, with the business
model based on supply and demand," Barrett said. "We realize that
elimination of demand is not realistic, so we must also carry out
strategic enforcement.

"With the RNC and RCMP working together, through dedicated joint
forces operations, we believe our impacts on the reduction of illegal
drugs on our streets will be greatest."

The inspector said they spend a lot of time educating youth - an
example being the DARE program - as a means of prevention. He even
highlighted his own addiction to tobacco. something that began as a
teenager and persisted in his life for 20 years.

In helping keep the motoring public safer, Barrett said the training
of officers has expanded to drug recognition experts to help catch all
impaired drivers - including impaired by drugs.

There is no breathalyzer-type equipment for detecting someone impaired
by drugs, but there are now two trained drug recognition experts on
the city's force, whose assessment can lead to charges. This is
something police weren't able to do until recently.

The RNC has increased patrol on the city streets, even dedicated one
officer to full-time traffic duty. Officers have also been assigned
specific school zones, where they provide a dedicated presence during
peak activity.

"By doing that they get to know what the problems are," Barrett said.
"There may be engineering problems with the crosswalk or the bus stop.
It allows them to be there to catch people who are breaking the law,
probably not stopping for crosswalks.

"Probably more importantly it fosters ownership in that zone and helps
build relationships with students, teachers, bus drivers, parents and
other motorists who frequent these areas. When they get used to seeing
a police car there many times, it will hopefully prevent offences and
keep us safe." 
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