Light said his department and other law-enforcement officers need to continue strict and aggressive enforcement. With people abusing drugs many times during the day, he said his detectives have made controlled drug buys any time during a 24-hour period.
“They don’t have the willpower to say no,” added Light, and as a result, addicts end up committing other crimes to support their habit.
There were 73 drug-related reports in 2016, a significant drop from 187 reports the previous year, according to the police department annual report. Out of those reports, police made 41 arrests in 2016 and 87 the previous year.
Light said the overall drop in the department’s involvement with the drug cases probably was because Detective Sgt. Seth Fry was out for several months due to an unexpected injury. Fry is the department contact for METRICH, a 10-county drug task force.
“Throughout the second half of 2016, Detective (Sgt. Jim) Fulton and Detective (Dave) Daniels shared all the detective bureau investigations due to Detective Fry’s unexpected injury. Crimes against persons were prioritized, leaving a void in drug investigations, resulting in a noticeable reduction in drug-related cases for 2016,” Light wrote in the year-end report.
In 2016, detectives investigated 63 criminal cases and 46 involving narcotics, compared to 88 criminal cases and 103 narcotics incidents in 2015.
Of the 46 drug cases handled by detectives in 2016, there were 16 each for heroin and prescription drugs. In 2015, those two categories led the way also, with 42 heroin cases and 23 for prescription drugs.
Police obtained a total of 23 search warrants in 2016, compared to 40 the previous year.
The three leading categories in the detectives’ general case load in 2016 were abused children (17), liquor violations (10) and sex offenses (12).
In 2015, they investigated 27 burglaries, break-ins and/or thefts, 19 complaints of abused children and 10 suspected sex cases. Detectives handled seven burglaries, break-ins and/or thefts in 2015, making it the fourth highest case load that year.
In 2016, the detective bureau obtained 25 indictments on trafficking in drugs, 13 on possession of drugs and 17 on other felony offense, including rape, felonious assault and kidnapping. A grand jury hands down an indictment after a prosecutor and police present evidence about a suspected crime.
“Overall, the detective bureau obtained 55 felony indictment and the Norwalk Police Department obtained a total of 102 felony indictments,” Light wrote in the report. “Many of the indictments are multiple-count indictments.”