The city's move to join local RCMP in its fight to quash marijuana grow
operations is a positive one. However, handing over an additional $160,000
annually by adding two full-time members to the front lines, is not a wise
investment.

Who can blame Mayor Clint Hames and council? They were hit over the head
with a hard sell laced with frightening facts. The RCMP sold the plan with
wide-eyed exaggerations best left to the USDEA and the FBI, like, "Drive-by
shootings" are coming here unless we act immediately. But who's buying it?
While most want these green entrepreneurs out of our neighbourhoods, off our
power grid, out of our city, and into jail along with other insidious drug
dealers, pouring more tax dollars into the plan is ill-advised.

Much has been written on how expensive and useless the 'War on Drugs' has
been in North America for the past 20 years. This has been proven with study
after study. We are more concerned with how our city is policed and where
the millions of dollars spent on policing in Chilliwack are allocated.
(Nearly 25 per cent - more than $9 million - of the city's budget goes to
the RCMP).

In a community with a variety of policing needs and decreasing resources,
what should our priorities be?

Is it traffic enforcement? Is it neighbourhood security? Is it the expensive
task of ridding the community of grow operations?

Ask residents whether they want to see more emphasis on eliminating 'soft'
drug producers and less on crime in general. The majority will tell you to
spend more on stopping thieves from breaking into houses and automobiles.
These crimes may be 'small' in law enforcement eyes, but those who have been
targeted will tell you it is a violation of the worst kind.

It's personal. It's painful. And we need immediate action to stop it from
happening time and time again.

These days, auto break-ins are so numerous that the RCMP has a policy of not
even sending out an officer to the call. A file is created over the phone.
Police don't have the time or manpower to investigate.

Until the courts get online with strict and enforcable penalties against pot
growers, we suggest the RCMP is wasting its time, and our money, and should
concentrate new efforts on community policing, adding members to the streets
where thieves and vandals currently rule.

Yes, the city should join the fight against grow operations. But its battle
is better fought with municipal laws with teeth as ammunition, not in
throwing more money into the bottomless pit otherwise known as the 'War on
Drugs.'


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Source: Chilliwack Progress (CN BC)
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Copyright: 2002 The Chilliwack Progress