City of Oakland announces drug dealer sweep
to reduce violent crime
By Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News Service
August 24, 2006
OAKLAND (BCN) - Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown and police
Chief Wayne Tucker said they hope a sweep of so-called "open-air
drug markets" today will result in 65 arrests and reduce
violent crime in their city.
Speaking at a news conference at the Eastmont Mall police substation
on 73rd Avenue in East Oakland, Tucker said today's operation
is "the culmination of a multi-month, multi agency investigation"
aimed at shutting down drug dealers.
Brown said officers in the strategic area command unit "are
going after drug dealers who are either the perpetrators or the
victims of violence."
Brown said police want to give drug dealers the message that
"Oakland is not a place to do business."
Sgt. Mike Poirier said the unit would attempt to execute 65 felony
arrest warrants today.
He said 40 suspects have been indicted by an Alameda County grand
jury and 25 suspects are the subject of regular arrest warrants.
Capt. Dave Kozicki said police announced the drug sweep ahead
of time because "every drug dealer should look over his shoulder
and wonder if they sold drugs to an undercover police officer,
especially in East Oakland."
Kozicki said police officers want to "give a message to
drug dealers to turn their lives around and find something else
to do beside crime."
Lt. Freddie Hamilton said announcing the operation ahead of time
will have "a psychological impact" on drug dealers and
make many of them stop operating, at least temporarily.
Oakland has had 90 homicides so far this year, compared to 94
for all of 2005.
Hamilton said he believes the drug sweep will make a dent in
the city's homicide rate because "the majority of violent
crime in Oakland is tied to the narcotics trade in some way."
City Councilman Larry Reid, whose East Oakland district is heavily
affected by drug dealing and violent crime, said he believes the
sweep will have a positive impact, at least in the short term.
But Reid, who will ride along with officers while they attempt
to make arrests, said it's important for the police to follow
up and continue to go after drug dealers aggressively.
He said his constituents "are tired of street corner drug
dealing that's associated with violence."
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