Director: Casa Grande neighborhoods need to mend after anti-drug operation
In the wake of last week’s announcement of a major anti-drug operation in the area that led to the arrest of two dozen people, the Casa Grande Alliance is stepping up a three-part program to strengthen the affected neighborhoods and to advise the families of the arrested where help may be found.
Executive Director Cindy Schaider told the Casa Grande Police Advisory Board during this month’s meeting that “when massive operations like this happen, drug dealers are sucked out of the community, they go to jail and the prosecution process begins. That creates a void in the criminal world, it creates a void in that neighborhood. And there are always lieutenants within those drug operations as well as wannabe drug dealers and bad guys from Phoenix who see that vacuum and want to fill it.” That’s where continued police enforcement and strengthening the community comes in, she said, noting that those arrested lived in from six to eight neighborhoods.
“We’re going to be doing some targeted block watch outreach to the neighborhoods where these folks lived and operated,” Schaider said. “There were several drug dealing operations right inside the neighborhoods. We want to be able to go into those neighborhoods, working with the crime prevention officer and talking with those folks about how to identify drug dealing in the neighborhood, how to safely report that to the Police Department and just generally how to make the community safer.
“The second part is that we know that when drug supplies are cut back, addicts become desperate, and we want to increase the opportunity for drug addicts to make a positive choice. When their supply is
cut off or at least slowed down, they may have what we call that ‘moment of clarity’ and the interest in drug treatment, so our intention is in the next month, make sure that we get information out there about the availability of treatment.” The third part is social services, Schaider told the board. “Twenty-four people were arrested, those people did not live alone, some of them have children, all of them have family,” she said, “and quite frankly, that drug dealing was most likely the primary source of income for those families.
“So there’s a certain sense of family brokenness that occurs when you pull that many folks out of our community at one time. We just want to make certain that the social service agencies
have the opportunity to provide services to everyone who needs it, regardless of why they find themselves in need.” More information is available from the alliance at 836-5022.
“What our job is, is to field phone calls, requests for information, etc., and then pass those folks on to the resources in the community,” Schaider said. “If you want to know about drug issues, go to our Web site. I
guarantee that you’ll be smarter about it when you finish. We’ve got online video training right there on the Web site.”
That site is www.casagrandealliance.org. More information on the block watch program is available by calling officer Thomas Anderson or Sgt. Al Grijalva at the Police Department, the alliance said. That phone number is 421-8700. Information on block watch and Crime Free Multihousing is also available on the Police Department’s site at www.casagrandeaz.gov/web/guest/specops.