Posted Aug 07, 2009 08:36 pm CDT
In a unique law enforcement effort that’s reportedly never been tried before in the state of Washington, Seattle officials invited a dozen alleged drug-dealers to meet with them last night and see the evidence that’s been put together in a year-long undercover operation.
If the dealers agree to stop dealing, authorities will help them turn their lives around and obtain education, job-training and substance-abuse treatment. If they are caught dealing again in King County, however, they will be prosecuted, reports the Seattle Times.
“We’ve done sweeps, we’ve done undercover buys and crackdowns and we’re still not getting a handle on drug dealing in our neighborhoods,” says John Diaz, the city’s interim police chief. “We’re trying to change the culture and the norms in the neighborhood.”
A similar program tried in 2004 in High Point, N.C., with the help of professor David Kennedy of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice has decimated public drug-dealing. At the same time, violent crime has gone down by 20 percent in the city, the college’s website reports.