Sunday, March 16, 2008

Last Word!

In Jan. 2008 Sgt. Jim Henderson, VP of the Alabama Narcotics Officers Assoc. began protesting federal cuts to his drug task force budget on the pages of many Alabama Newspapers starting with this in the the Birmingham News "Not enough money for war on Drugs", which was followed about a month later with the news of a Drug Sweeps that netted 300 arrests in which Sgt. Henderson seems to imply that warrants were held (even though the cops had information that kids were living in meth labs) in order to create a big media scene and posture before cameras in hopes of getting their welfare check back. I wrote a letter which the BHAM News published today....right after Sgt. Henderson's second letter saying they only arested dealers...."Yeah Right!


Drug task force grant needed

On March 5, 41 states participated in a nationwide arrest roundup called "Operation Byrne Blitz." The name is in reference to the federally funded Byrne-Justice Assistance Grant that funds vital drug task forces and drug courts with rehabilitation programs.

The roundup targeted drug dealers in rural and urban neighborhoods, not addicts or users. This operation was coordinated by the National Alliance of State Drug Enforcement Agencies in partnership with the National Narcotics Officers' Associations' Coalition.

Nationally, the operation resulted in the arrests of 4,220 individuals and the seizure of a variety of drugs, 666 firearms and more than $13.46 million. Most important, 228 children were determined to be endangered, and those cases were referred to their respective child-protection agencies.

In Alabama, 19 Byrne-JAG drug task forces participated in the operation. The roundup resulted in the arrest of 286 persons and the seizure of a variety of drugs, 11 firearms, stolen property and $25,013. Thirty-six search warrants were executed. Again, most important in the operation was the discovery of 15 endangered children who were referred to the Alabama Department of Human Resources.

One striking statistic in this one-day operation is the seizure of 105 meth labs nationally. This number includes 24 meth labs in Alabama alone.

It is vital that Congress properly fund this grant for local law enforcement. State and local governments cannot conduct this fight alone. Drug trafficking is an international problem that affects the citizens of Alabama at a neighborhood level.

Jim Henderson

Alabama Narcotics

Officers Association

and Birmingham

Police sergeant


Funding cuts a good thing:
In response to "Nearly 300 arrested in statewide drug sweep" (March 7, The News), I found a number of things very disturbing.

In January, Birmingham Police Sgt. Jim Henderson, vice president of the Alabama Narcotics Officers Association, protested the federal government's cuts to his budget on The News' editorial page, claiming the cuts would make drug task forces ineffective. When have they ever been effective?

Every year, the number of drug arrests and the amount of drugs seized rise. If the tactics employed by Henderson and other drug warriors were working, shouldn't those numbers be going down?

The March 7 article seemed to imply that execution of warrants was delayed in order to create a big media scene, even though the cops knew there were children living in meth labs. I guess the safety and well-being of children are only important when they can be used as ransom in exchange for a government welfare check.

Drug task forces are equivalent to people who abuse the welfare system. Instead of doing real police work on serious crimes like murder, rape, child-sex assault, robbery and vehicle theft, they focus on rounding up low-level, nonviolent drug users because it's easy. And they get a government welfare check for doing so.

The Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center reports that crime clearance rates for 2005 were 19 percent. The drug warrior welfare cuts should be looked on as a good thing. Perhaps now, police will get to work on solving real crimes.

Loretta Nall

Alexander City

I LOVE it when I get the last word! Thanks BHAM News!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Couple of things concern me.
The number of bust has anyone every tracked this to see the conviction rate... Especially for the big press bust... Also what happens to the money that is seized by the Police or DEA? Where does it go and while they are deciding the case does this money collect interest if so who gets the interest? Just wondering. My 2cents their is no war on Drugs just smoke and mirrors.