Denver's Big Drug Sweep

June 29 2005, 11:08 AM

The Denver Post is trumpeting the Denver Police Department's big "drug sweep" in which it nabbed 74 suspected drug offenders in Capitol Hill. The police department says it was responding to citizen complaints about the Colfax-Logan-Pennsylvania Street area. The Post's online article doesn't include this graphic that appeared in its print edition. I hate to rain on anyone's parade, but wait just a minute. Look at the quantities of drugs recovered. The amounts of crack powder cocaine and meth are laughable when you're talking 74 arrests. Denver Post graphic

Less than 1/2 ounce of crack and and 1/4 ounce of powder coke and meth were seized over the course of five days. All 30 officers in the Denver Narcotics unit were involved in the five day operation. 74 arrests of street people, all of whom likely are indigent and will require the state to pay the cost of their lawyers.

"It was well worth it," [Narcotics Lt. Kathleen ] Bancroft said.

I question that assessment, and yes, I live in the neighborhood. Worth it to what? Push the minor drug dealers four blocks east? How many busts will it take till they are pushed to the Aurora line? And then what? It's Aurora and Arapahoe County's problem? Forget zero tolerance and busting users and minor dealers. The money would be far better spent addressing the root cause of the inner city drug problem and providing programs to reduce it. If this is a ploy by the city to increase the number of jail prisoners to show we really needed new jail space, then I'm sorry I voted for the Denver Justice Center initiative.