Police chief's column: Blight and Nuisance Crime Project addresses quality of life issuesThe Duluth police tradition of being leaders in policing continues this year: I am proud to report our officers are again being recognized at the national level for their work.
By: Gordon Ramsay, For the Budgeteer News
The Duluth police tradition of being leaders in policing continues this year: I am proud to report our officers are again being recognized at the national level for their work.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) has recognized the Duluth Police Department for our work with nuisance offenders and blight. This collaborative project between the City of Duluth’s Police Department and the Attorney’s Office works to address the “quality of life” blight and nuisance crimes plaguing two Duluth police patrol zones.
Blight and Nuisance Crime Project
The project assigned a full-time police officer to deal with law enforcement and a full-time City Attorney to coordinate judicial issues to address chronic blight and nuisance crime offenders. The Blight and Nuisance Crime Project succeeded in improving the sharing of information about chronic offenders by prosecutors, judges and the police, thereby improving the criminal justice system.
The officer and attorney collaborate with community groups to help designate and locate resources for indigent and chronic perpetrators of nuisance crimes, allowing them access to resources that could help initiate reparations of their past. Our staff is closely involved with helping the homeless find housing and resources to improve their situation.
This year’s recognition falls on the heels of last year’s, where we won the top IACP community policing award and honorable mention for our work with crime victims. I could not be more proud of the men and women of this department. To be recognized two years in a row is unheard of and speaks volumes about the caliber of our staff and the innovative work they are doing. I see their good work every day and am proud to see them recognized for their efforts.
Location, location, location
In mid-August I received information that there was going to be a
needle exchange for illegal drug users opening up downtown. The location of the needle exchange was next to a main entrance to Lake Place Park (which adjoins the Lake Walk) and is about 300 feet from the Last Place on Earth.
I do not support locating a needle exchange next to a city park or next to what is likely the largest commercial synthetic drug store in the U.S.
The longer I am in police work the more I find the old adage, “location, location, location,” is as fitting in crime prevention as it is in real estate. Consider the high concentration of halfway houses, treatment centers, group homes and other social service organizations in downtown and immediate neighborhoods.
For the economic health of downtown we need to be very thoughtful in expanding human services in this particular area. I do not oppose a needle exchange and understand the goals of the program; however, I am concerned about the location of the program and potential issues for surrounding businesses, residences, Lake Place Park and that area of downtown.
Drug addiction plagues all walks of life
Along the lines of illegal drug use, we continue to see people from all walks of life become addicted to the opiate-based prescription drugs. I recently heard about a 17-year- old honor student who had dental surgery and suffered a lot of pain associated with it. She was prescribed an opiate painkiller and became addicted. When she was cut off from the prescription opiate drugs, she turned to heroin.
Needless to say her life has been turned upside down and she is struggling, and her family is devastated. If you have a family member or friend who has the need for pain medication, please warn them of the dangers associated with opiate prescription drug abuse. I am continuing to see many people get hooked on prescription opiate drugs through what starts as simple pain control.
Contact Duluth Police Chief Gordon Ramsay at 730-5020 or firstname.lastname@example.org.