Drug Enforcement Strategies Supply Reduction vs. Demand Term Paper

Pages: 9 (2653 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  Level: College Sophomore  ·  Topic: Sports - Drugs

Drug Enforcement Strategies

There are several different tactics that Police Drug enforcement Divisions use to reduce supplies of drugs on the streets. Five strategies are listed below. The writer will use the Orlando, Florida Police Department as an example of how a typical Police Drug Enforcement Division goes about utilizing all of these strategies. Then a strategy will be chosen that, in the writer's estimation, works best to get rid of drug use, and how, if the writer were chief of police, the writer would handle the drug problem. The first four strategies described below fall into the categories of Supply Reduction. The final one, Education, falls into the category of Demand Reduction.

For Drug Enforcement, all local departments work with and receive some funding from State Police and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The DEA works with local, county, and state law enforcement authorities to address drug problems on the state and national level. On a national level the DEA develops intelligence on drug production and distribution. The agency also helps investigate and dismantle larger drug distribution and-drug-making or cultivation operations in multi-state distribution rings.

This year, in Congressional Testimony, the DEA spokesperson declared that the DEA was dedicated to their critical state and local partners and helped train and mobilize officers for drug enforcement:

In FY 2005, DEA led 217 State and Local Task Forces, with an on board strength of 2,096 Task Force Officers and 1,253 DEA Special Agents. We also have provided drug enforcement training to 41,000 state and local police officers in FY 2005. DEA's Jetway Program, which instructs state and local law enforcement officers how to address interdiction issues in airports, bus and train stations, and hotel/motel environments, conducted nine schools in cities across the country during FY 2005. Our Pipeline/Convoy Program, which teaches highway patrol officers how to address commercial and passenger vehicle interdiction issues, conducted 16 seminars in FY 2005. These two important programs trained a total of more than 3,000 officers. DEA has trained drug unit commanders, DEA and other federal, state and local law enforcement intelligence analysts, and international narcotics leaders. Furthermore, we trained 1,100 police officers in the enforcement areas of clandestine labs and diversion. (Tandy 2006)

The First Strategy (Buy-Bust)

The first strategy is the buy and bust strategy. Undercover officers purchase drugs and then arrest the dealers. The Orlando Police Department Drug Enforcement Division has buy-bust and reverse operations and surveillance operations. Officers assigned to the Uniform Drug Unit also receive regular training in commonly used tactics such as dynamic vehicle takedowns and search warrant service (Drug 2006).

The Second Strategy (Trading Up)

The second, related, strategy is to attempt to disrupt the drug syndicate by "trading up." The officers arrest low level dealers and offer leniency in return for information about higher level dealers.

The Orlando, Florida Street Crimes Unit consists of one sergeant and four detectives. The Street Crimes Unit is responsible for enforcing laws regarding street level prostitution, escorts, and exposure/lewdness. This unit addresses all vice complaints and assists other local and state agencies in a cooperative effort to improve the quality of life in Orlando communities, including drug-related incidents. Drugs and prostitution often go hand-in-hand and the users and pushers of drugs are often found on the streets alongside prostitutes.

The goals of the Street Crimes Unit are to reduce open street prostitution in identified areas, reduce open exposures/lewd acts in identified areas, reduce the demand for prostitutes by eliminating "Johns," utilizing reverse sting operations, reduce Escort Services in identified areas, and as a result, to reduce open street drug sales using undercover detectives in identified areas. This unit acts to restore and maintain order within the community through aggressive enforcement of the local and state laws pertaining to prostitution, lewd acts, and drug sales (Drug 2006).

The Third Strategy (Long-term undercover work assisted by uniformed enforcement)

The third strategy is to penetrate the drug syndicate through long-term undercover work.

The Orlando Police Department Drug Enforcement Division uses long-term undercover agents. This division is commanded by a Police Captain, and there are two investigative sections. These sections are the Uniform Drug Enforcement Section, and the Undercover Drug Investigation Section. Each section consists of specialized units that investigate crimes related to their specialty. The Uniformed Drug Enforcement Unit consists of one sergeant and ten officers. The Uniform Drug Enforcement Unit concept was formed to work problem drug areas in uniform and to provide uniformed assistance to the undercover drug detectives. The goals of the Uniform Drug Enforcement Unit are to reduce open street drug sales in identified areas, address all assigned citizen drug complaints, provide uniformed assistance to undercover detectives in making arrests and executing search warrants, and to restore and maintain order within the community through aggressive enforcement of the various state and local laws

The Orlando Undercover Drug Unit consists of one sergeant and nine detectives. This unit is responsible for street-level, and mid to upper-level drug investigation. The Undercover Drug Unit addresses all narcotics complaints and assists other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies in a cooperative effort to improve the quality of life in Orlando's communities. The goals of the Undercover Drug Unit are to identify and apprehend drug dealers through various undercover investigative techniques. The Undercover Drug Unit is able to achieve these goals utilizing a number of intelligence and enforcement strategies including working with the community and schools to arrest and prosecute those individuals involved in illicit drug enterprises. In order to achieve these goals, members of the Street Crimes Unit use various law enforcement techniques such as undercover operations, reverse stings, and surveillance. The Street Crimes Unit has also created a website: "Busted" to assist in the enforcement strategies. The creation of the City's "Busted" website has proven to be a valuable tool in reducing crime. Citizens can access this website and view photos of persons arrested in their community. This not only informs the citizens that the area is being actively worked, but also affords them the ability to notify the Street Crimes Unit when a repeat offender returns to their neighborhood (Drug 2006).

The Orlando, Florida Street Crimes Unit has also implemented a "Vice Line," (407) 423-VICE (8423), where individuals may leave anonymous tips on any vice related crimes, or they may leave their name and a number for a detective to call them back.

Fourth Strategy (Crackdown)

The fourth strategy is the drug crackdown, an intensive enforcement effort concentrated in a specific area over a limited period of time.

An example of this is in Orlando, Florida, where the Prescription Fraud Unit consists of one detective and is part of the Drug Enforcement Division Undercover Drug Investigation Section. The Pharmaceutical crimes unit is responsible for the enforcement of laws relating to the abuse and diversion of prescription drugs. The Prescription Fraud Unit concept was formed to combat the overwhelming abuse of prescription drugs throughout the City of Orlando. This unit has developed a website: "Rx Fraud" to assist in the enforcement strategies. The "Rx Fraud" site shows photos of arrestees and is useful for pharmacies and other agencies to identify possible suspects. The goals of the Prescription Fraud Unit are to: Educate and inform the public of this abuse, to inform medical professionals of the abusers, to proactively arrest individuals who "doctor shop" and commit prescription fraud and scams, and to proactively investigate medical professionals who over-prescribe controlled substances (Drug 2006).

Part of the supply reduction efforts might involve finding and destroying methamphetamine (meth) laboratories, where the drug meth is created, usually in someone's home. This is a specialized kind of law enforcement where the responsibilities for investigating, documenting and then cleaning up the sites have fallen on the shoulders of law enforcement officers. The difficult task of cleaning up meth labs falls to "clan lab (clandestine methamphetamine laboratories) certified" officers. These are officers trained to investigate and dismantle every meth lab or meth waste site. (Madigan 2006)

Demand Reduction Strategy (Education)

For Demand Reduction, officers attempt to reduce demand for drugs on the part of potential users. This strategy includes drug education programs, such as D.A.R.E.

In an effort to promote drug abuse awareness in Orlando, FL, members of the Drug Enforcement Division conduct presentations to local businesses, school children, and civic organizations. The presentations are designed to introduce the officers and their respective units' specialized equipment, including Gunny and Buster, their narcotics detecting canines (Drug 2006).

Education involves targeting potential users of drugs. This includes women and children, and not only adolescent males. The cost of drug-related crime and violence exceeds the cost of drug use itself. If much of the funds used to fight the results of drug use on the streets were put into educating the potential users, the problem with drugs might be cut off at its source. If no one used drugs, there would be no drug pushers, gangs or the necessity for police forces dedicated to dealing with the results of drug violence.

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