By EMMALEE C. TORISK
Ten days after the police department’s reinstatement of its drug-interdiction teams, drug arrests are up.
As of Sunday, officers had made more than a dozen drug arrests since the program’s Aug. 2 start, said Sgt. Drew Rauzan, interim chief of the Campbell Police Department.
But this, he added, is just the beginning.
Officers are engaging in more-extensive investigations and initiating traffic stops — of which there have been more than 120 since the program began, Rauzan said.
Over the weekend, for example, police stopped several drivers for having items obstructing their view, for speeding and for driving unsafe cars — which led to arrests on charges of possession of drugs — overwhelmingly suspected marijuana — and drug paraphernalia.
Arrested since Friday were:
Joseph D. McCoy, 31, of Hubbard was arrested Friday for possession of 2 grams of suspected marijuana, possession of 31/2 acetaminophen/hydrocodone pills and for possession of drug paraphernalia. He faces an arraignment today in Campbell Municipal Court.
Jessica Forte, 32, of Campbell was arrested Saturday for possession of 1.1 gram of suspected marijuana, possession of 0.4 gram of suspected cocaine, open container, possession of drug paraphernalia, speeding and for having objects that blocked her rear-view mirror. She also faces an arraignment today.
Brandon Hyder, 27, of Youngstown was arrested Sunday for possession of drug paraphernalia and for having objects that blocked his front windshield. His arraignment is today.
Barbara L. Deckerhoff, 36, of Youngstown was arrested Sunday for possession of drug paraphernalia. Her arraignment is today.
Christian Carrasquillo, 30, of Campbell was arrested Sunday for possession of 15.1 grams of suspected marijuana and for possession of drug paraphernalia. He faces an arraignment today.
Rauzan said the city lacked a program focusing solely on narcotics- related law enforcement for several years, though its officers consistently have made “good drug arrests” while simultaneously handling other issues, such as domestic-violence calls and thefts.
Now, Rauzan added, the handful of officers who make up each of the drug-interdiction teams have the freedom to make tackling drugs “by any and all means” their main priority.
The teams are led by Sgt. John Rusnak.
Officer Eric Manning, who was involved in many of the weekend’s drug arrests, said though the program has had a promising start, it’s nothing compared to what will be accomplished in the next few weeks, months or years.
“Dealers absolutely are moving large quantities [of drugs] in our city and in surrounding cities,” he said. “We’ll either eradicate this problem, or we’ll make it so hard for them to do business in this city that they’ll go somewhere else.”
“I can only dream about where we will be one month from now and how much more we can accomplish for the betterment of the city,” Rauzan said.
Rauzan added that he’s working to assess the department’s equipment needs. Though officers are capable now, the city could gain significantly from investment in better technology, including wiretaps and portable digital-video recorders with night-vision technology.
No city funds will be used to purchase any of this equipment, Rauzan said, as it will be financed almost exclusively through drug seizures and drug-fine money.