War on drugs is team effort

Published 8:42 am Thursday, October 14, 2010

Getting drugs off the streets is not the responsibility of a single individual, nor is it the sole responsibility of local law enforcement officers.

Certainly, local law enforcement agencies are dedicated to stamping out drug use and putting drug dealers behind bars, but they can’t do it all alone.

Stamping out drugs will take a community effort.

Although law enforcement and the judicial system are burdened with capturing and jailing drug offenders, without community support their effectiveness is greatly diminished.

We live in a free society, which means that law enforcement must abide by constitutional rules that forbid them from putting just anyone under surveillance and from searching people randomly.

As the framers of the Constitution knew, there would be a constant struggle between government and its law enforcement arm and individual liberties we are all guaranteed.

But there need not be a tense relationship.

If people take it upon themselves to care what happens in their neighborhoods and work with the police to prevent and stop crime, law enforcement officers will be members of the community rather than antagonists.

Locally, most drug offenders are captured because people in the community report their suspicions.

They do this because they want to live in safe neighborhoods and they do this because they want to protect their families, especially their children, from harm.

Police officers are very appreciative when citizens voice their suspicions and inform them about suspicious behavior.

If a drug dealer is operating in a neighborhood, it is very likely that somebody in the neighborhood – if not everyone in the neighborhood – is aware of what’s going on.

Citizens can’t assume the local police know what is going on, however, because someone has to take the initiative to inform the police.

Local law enforcement agencies work harmoniously together to catch and incarcerate drug dealers, but that’s not enough.

There must be a harmonious relationship between the police and the community to really make a difference.