Police chief concerned drug problem may be growing
Graham Police Chief Tony Widner gave an update to the city council Thursday regarding criminal arrests made in January and said that overall, the problem of drugs is worsening in the city.
The Graham Police Department received 453 calls for various types of service in January and made 76 arrests. Though not all of the arrests were not drug-related, Widner said his department will need to take extra measures to try to stop narcotics in Graham.
“I think that we are trying, but I think that the problem is getting worse and we are going to have to take more steps to address it,” Widner said. “I think the worst approach we can get to is to say that it is always going to be here and there is nothing we can do about it. That is just putting people’s lives at risk and I don’t think that’s a good way to look at this problem.”
In the 2016 Graham PD criminal investigation report, the department investigated a little over 900 criminal offenses. In January 2017, the department handled 122 criminal offenses, though 108 were resolved by patrol officers in the field, Widner said.
GPD statistics show if the number of seized drugs continues at the pace set last month, by year’s end, GPD could seize more than triple the amount it did in all of 2016. GPD drug arrest numbers were not available by presstime.
To address the drug problem, he said, police need to be in closer cooperation with outside agencies such as the Texas Department of Public Safety, the federal department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency. GPD also needs to exchange information with surrounding jurisdictions to know more about local drug dealers and Widner said he hopes to one day have a narcotics officer in Graham.
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