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New ISP Task Force Aims To Arrest One Drug Dealer A Day

  • Indiana State Police sign

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    Photo: Steve Burns

    ISP started new all-crimes policing teams to provide more resources for fighting drug crimes.

  • abert pic

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    Photo: J.D. Gray

    Advocate Chris Abert points to research that shows criminalization of drug users doesn't work.

Indiana is in the midst of a drug epidemic with more people dying from overdoses than in car crashes. Indiana State Police Sgt. Jerry Goodin says it’s the top issue police are facing. He says nothing else even comes close.

“It’s a very difficult issue for several reasons. For one there is the divide with people who think it is an illness and the others who think it is a choice,” Goodin says. “That is not for the police to decide. That is for the doctors, the legislators to decide. We just do our jobs as an enforcement arm.”

New all-crimes policing teams give officers more resources to do that. The teams started up a couple months ago.

“If we can just fight these little battles, and we can win these little battles, it’s going to lead us to win the big war.”

—Sgt. Jerry Goodin, Indiana State Police

Indiana State police officers have broad job descriptions and a range of responsibilities. The work of the policing teams is more focused.

“They are going to go after drug dealers every single day they work,” Goodin says. “That is all they have to worry about. That is their mission: to arrest drug dealers.”

Goodin says it’s working. Last week state police announced 20 major drug arrests in Southern Indiana. Goodin calls it the tip of the iceberg, but he says it illustrates how serious police are about solving the drug problem.

“We can show instances that we think are major wins in the war on drugs,” he says. “But as with any war there is never just one battle. If we can just fight these little battles and we can win these little battles it’s going to lead us to win the big war.”

In addition to dealers, the policing strategy also applies to users.

“We’re wanting to work some of these overdose cases where people do survive,” Goodin says. “Where they have Narcan used to help them survive.”

Although arresting drug users is nothing new, it’s a red flag for Indiana Recovery Alliance Director Chris Abert.

Abert points to research that shows criminalization of drug users doesn’t work and instead exacerbates the problem.

“Often policies such as this end up pushing people who are using drugs further into the criminal system,” Abert says.

Goodin says arresting users is about getting them help. He says every Hoosier deserves to live in a drug free environment.

Lindsey Wright contributed to this story.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

  • lastcamp2

    One a day. That’s a quota system. Quota system have been ruled illegal. That doesn’t seem to stop the ones who claim to enforce the law, even if they have to violate it to do so. Remember Vietnam? We have to destroy the village to save it. The same bizarre paradox arises in the statement that “arresting them (and of course sending them to prison) is getting them help. Some choice.
    The War on Drugs, using these very tactics, has been a dismal failure and has been going on for nearly 50 years, America’s longest war.
    However, the police actually articulate that they make no ethical judgments. They can’t be concerned about right or wrong. They are just “following orders.” Sound familiar? That defense didn’t work to well at Nuremberg. But I guess it works here.

  • Cat Carillo

    The drug dealer who murdered my son Eric with his deadly fentanyl heroine codeine mix is out and about. If he got caught it would just be catch and release… He murdered my son on the 3rd of Aug two days later on the 05 Aug he killed another person in Calumet City Illinois. Do we blame the people who gets cancer after they smoked cigarettes ? Bad choice .. Same thing with drugs..Once that demon takes a hold of the person it is all over. Honestly I would have preferred my son be in jail then dead.

  • lastcamp2

    Sounds like this is another example of the abject failure of the War on Drugs.
    A careful review of my comment fails to reveal my having blamed the victim.

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