Campbell donates seized drug equipment to TCI’s garden program

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Equipment seized by Campbell police during a drug raid will find new use at the Trumbull Correctional Institution as part of the prison’s inmate agricultural program.

The equipment will be used at TCI as part of a program that teaches inmates how to grow food. This food is then given to the poor. Last year, the prison produced more than 10,000 pounds of food through the program.

Last September, Campbell police officers conducted a raid at a home on Devitt Avenue where they took possession of 56 marijuana plants and dozens of pieces of hydroponic equipment valued at tens of thousands of dollars.

Campbell Mayor Nick Phillips said under normal circumstances the evidence would simply be destroyed, but an official from the TCI reached out and to ask if the city would consider donating the equipment.

“A couple of weeks ago, TCI reached out to me and asked about our equipment from the raid. They asked if we’d be willing to donate it, and I thought it was a good idea, so I talked to the chief and we got everyone necessary to sign off on it and told them to come get it,” Phillips said. “It’s nice to see good coming from bad.”

TCI officers picked up the equipment on Thursday morning, loading mesh screens, pumps, grow lamps and a variety of other components onto a truck bound for the state prison.

Patrick Crick, one of the TCI officers, said the equipment would become part of the prison’s aquaponics system, where pond water and fish are used to generate nutrients that are then used to grow crops.

“The food we generate is all given back to the community,” Crick said. “The inmates take pride in what they do at the garden. They like giving back and knowing that it goes into the communities where their families live.”

Campbell police Chief Dennis Puskarcik helped load the truck along with other Campbell police officers and TCI officers.

He said he was pleased that the equipment was going to be used for good.

“That’s the highlight of being a chief, or even an officer – when we can give back and take something bad and turn it into something good,” Puskarcik said.

“That’s what good law enforcement should be. It’s not just about locking people up in jail – though you do need to do that sometimes. It’s about giving back and serving the community.”

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