6 months after 'refocusing' 2 units on drug enforcement, APD gives update
A 'refocusing' of two Anchorage Police units to the department's drug enforcement goals shows progress, but there is still work to be done.
"It's not something that happens overnight," said APD Captain Sean Case.
After a March announcement that the Community Action Patrol (CAP) and VICE units would focus on drug enforcement, Case gave Anchorage Assembly members on the public safety committee an update on the effort Wednesday.
The CAP team is working on street level drug enforcement, like catching hand-to-hand transactions, while VICE is working on long term investigations targeting the drug suppliers.
Case's presentation highlighted results from both units.
The CAP team has made seizures of various drugs including heroin, meth, mushrooms and firearms through 19 investigations, with a total of 84 defendants.
VICE has seized roughly 20,000 doses of opium and $79,000 in case.
Leadership at APD believes the key to addressing other issues in Anchorage, including rampant property crimes and violent crimes, is first attacking the drug problem.
"It seems that some of the same players are in both the property crime and the drug world," explained Case.
Nine-year Anchorage resident Grant Hedman, spoke up during the meeting saying he lives right in the middle of a trouble area that needs police attention.
"South Anchorage needs protection, Turnagain -- everyone needs protection, but I mean, this is a main corridor of trouble," he said, referring to Third Avenue near Eagle Street.
"I drove cab graveyard for five years, I'm not scared of anything. I've got a guy jumping through my window, I know what all the drug dealers are, I know what they look like," he explained.
"I can tell you that we definitely understand the frustration that people in Anchorage have right now," said Case.
He says APD needs people in situations, similar to Hedman, to call them and report all criminal activity, so their data will show which areas of the city need more resources.
"If we don't have people that call, as I said before, we don't know where to send the resources, so their frustration builds and then their concern and their anger continues to build, and we're left with, we didn't know."