"If you turned the fabric of our lives over, I imagine the design on the backside
would be woven in the bleak grays of doubt and fear."
Scioto County has been the epicenter of the prescription drug epidemic. Even though strong, concerted efforts by conscientious people have helped drive ten pill mills from the county, we are still faced with great numbers of those dependent and addicted to drugs. We must face this challenge and deal with it.
These diseased individuals do not suddenly transform into rehabilitated citizens because their supply of favorite substances has dropped. Without proper medical treatment, they look for new sources and new drugs to satisfy their demons. As we know, heroin use has increased recently and a variety of opiates are still being abused. I have also noticed more reports of crack arrests along with the discoveries of crack labs. Underaged young adults in our area tell me a drug is easier to acquire (and safer from detection) than a beer.
People who follow our Facebook group, "Fix the Scioto County Problem of Drug Abuse, Misuse, and Overdose," ask about how to become involved in the efforts to clean up our county. Of course, groups such as SOLACE, The Garrett C. Maloney Memorial Foundation, and The Scioto Drug Action Team are already providing much-needed services for the community. But, we must never forget that the people, the populace of Scioto County, are the bedrock of our grass roots movement.
Today, I want to share some very good intervention information from a professional group in Clearwater, Florida. I have edited some of the information. And, I must tell you that these strategies and interventions are taken directly from their website. I have taken the liberty of changing some of the focus to be the responsibility of the community, not of the company, so be advised that I am not advocating the employment of any means that puts individual citizens in danger. The bottom line is -- this is what CIS believes works, and this is what the professionals in the service do.
So with that caution, I also want to say that many here in the county want to become involved in stopping drug abuse, but many of these same people feel intimidated. Without the help of a number of concerned citizens, enforcement and support agencies are useless. That is why our Fix the Scioto County battle cry is "Rise Up!"
For far too long, we let our county simmer in the poison of drug abuse. We know now that action and determination does create positive results while inaction contributes to the fall of the standard of our living. Some of the involvement we seek involves risk. That is the nature of enforcing needed change in an environment steeped in criminal activity.
“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.”
What is Critical Intervention Services?
Critical Intervention Services, a Clearwater is Florida-based company that provides a wide range of protection and investigative services to businesses, governments, and individuals in Florida and throughout the world. CIS is an industry leader in developing and instituting innovative and effective solutions for security and intelligence-related problems, especially those that involve high threat and escalated environments.
As a leading provider, CIS has provided protective services for high profile individuals, including Glenn Beck, Senator Bob Dole, civil rights leaders Rosa Parks, civil rights leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu, news anchorwoman Paula Zahn, talk show host Sally Jesse Raphael, Emeril Lagasse and numerous other actors and entertainers. CIS has also provided protective services to governmental agencies, such as the Florida Department of Insurance during fraud investigations and court-ordered receiverships.
CIS has also conducted risk assessments and coordinated anti-terrorism deployments for critical infrastructure sites, such as chemical facilities that warehouse ammonia and power generation plants.
What Can a Community Learn From CIS about Intimidation and Putting a Stop to Neighborhood Drug Sales?
In order for repeated, open narcotics sales to take place over the years, the community must remain in a state of fear. This fear is mainly generated by criminals through the real or perceived possibility of retaliation or the threat of victimizing residents.
When this fear grips a community, people become isolated and, many times, even become unwilling participants in the drug trade around them. As victimization takes over a community, it becomes both the victims and the protectors of the criminal at the same time. How?
* Community members will avoid confrontation and interaction with the drug dealer whenever possible.
* Some community members, when confronted, will give refuge to a fleeing criminal or refuse to report the criminal to the police—simply out of fear.
Without the community acting in this manner, the street level narcotics dealer simply could not exist, as the dealer needs the community to conduct the business of crime.
Proactive Intervention and Preventative Interaction
A safe community must have proactive intervention and preventative interaction with community members.
Proactive Intervention involves many techniques including the following:
* Interdiction (steady actions for the purpose of delaying and disorganizing progress),
* Harassment (impediments that impede and exhaust activity),
Preventative Interaction, by contrast, involves these things:
* Trust Building,
* Commitment, and
* Caring for Community Members.
Let's Consider a Dealer
CIS literature shows how a dealer, at the other end of the spectrum of the community, employs these intervention and and interaction techniques. A dealer is not afraid to use interference, harassment, and the like.
"Unlike the resident, the dealer is more than willing to get involved and fight for his self-interests, making every effort to remain in control. Unlike the community, the dealer will actually confront, provoke, and even attack when he feels that his profits are at risk. Many times s/he will do anything in order to control the community, as the community is both his protector and facilitator. The dealer also perceives the community as his customers and will struggle to maintain accessibility to his patrons."
(K.C. Poulin, "Putting a STOP to Neighborhood Drug Sales," CIS, www.cisworldservices.org)
In order to be effective against neighborhood drug sales, the community first must intentionally focus on finding the accessibility points and act as barriers to those points.
As already discussed, the primary tactics in the reclamation deployment involve proactive intervention and preventive interaction with community members, but it also involves many other approaches that must be elaborated on further.
As already stated, the relationship between the drug dealer and the community is based in control and intimidation. To break this relationship, the community must show that the drug dealers are not invincible. The goal is to demonstrate through actions that the drug dealers do not control the community. As a result, the community's fear begins to subside and the drug dealers loosen their hold on the population.
In essence, a wedge is driven between the community and the dealer by putting pressure on the dealers (proactive intervention) while restoring courage and ownership to the community through communication (preventative interaction).
The Weakest Link Is the Buyer
The relationship between dealer and buyer must also be analyzed and targeted with the same focus on interruption. A key element in this relationship is accessibility.
The community must focus on disrupting accessibility by creating barriers that interfere with the sale and purchase of narcotics. The weakest link in this relationship that can accomplish this is the buyer.
The buyer, generally, does not instill fear in the community or fight to retain a source of financial profit. It is true that buyers often victimize communities in order to finance their drug habits through crimes such as burglary, theft, and robbery.
However, the intent of the buyer is not to instill fear or control the community, but to gain the resources needed to purchase narcotics. Generally, the buyer wants to stay as inconspicuous as possible. The buyer, for most purposes, is neutral to the environment in terms of fear and control. The primary goal of the buyer is the purchase of narcotics and, subsequently, the use of narcotics at a convenient and discreet location.
What CIS Does To Shift Pressure From the Dealer to the Buyer
When cleaning up drug activity in an area, a time will come where the officers will need to shift pressure from the dealer to the buyer. This is the only way to truly remove drug activity from an environment. When the dealer does not intimidate easily or does not want to stop selling because the customer base is too good, STOP team officers shift focus from the dealer to the customer. The objective is not necessarily to conduct arrests. Rather, the buyer is pressured out of the relationship by intimidation.
Officers for example, may remain on a street corner for 8 hours in plain sight equipped with a video recorder, recording drug dealers and their buyers. At the sight of the officers with camcorders, buyers quickly leave the area for fear of identification.
Again, the tactic is based on the theory that the buyer is the weakest link in the relationship and, therefore, focus must shift to the buyer to ensure success when other techniques are not completely successful. Considering the simple rules of economics, by focusing on the buyer and removing the demand, the dealer will have no other option but to relocate his/her drug sales. This same principle applies to any other business that is not capable of attracting customers. They must move, change the way they do business, or ultimately go out of business.
Another element of the relationship that exists with drug activity is the dealer's efforts to expand his/her new customer base. A main focus of drug dealers is converting community members into customers, transitioning people from the community ring into the buyer ring. CIS officers attempt to implement barriers by utilizing proactive intervention techniques and preventative interaction with community members, specifically the children. When dealers want to create new customers, children of the area are the preferred targets. Techniques for addressing this issue are usually implemented as part of the sustained approach beginning in Phase Two of the CCBPI program.
As demonstrated in this example, by utilizing a systematic approach, STOP officers are able to insert barriers throughout the matrix and successfully disrupt the relationships between the community, the buyer, and the dealer. This approach to tailoring STOP activities to specific criminal problems is universal, applying to gangs, prostitution, and many other types of criminal activities.
CCBPI is a term that was created by Critical Intervention Services in order to describe the systematic process of gaining control of a community and returning it back to its residents (or employees in a workplace application). CCBPI is CIS's approach to community based integration. Every CCBPI program begins with a community profile and threat assessment that specifically looks at the problems and issues of the community or business (referred to as the "intervention area").
CIS Reclaims, Networks, and Anchors
Phase One: Reclamation
Phase one of this three-phased system is termed the "Reclamation" phase. This phase usually targets the specific types of criminal activity and quality of life issues that allow the felony cycle to perpetuate. It is based on the premise that before any prevention effort can be successful, in many circumstances, a coordinated intervention must take place.
This phase is directed specifically at disrupting highly visible criminal activity by using Symmetry Targeted Oriented Patrolling combined with many other specialized techniques. Symmetry Targeted Oriented Patrolling is a systematic approach to dealing with the issues that contribute to an environment that allows crime to occur.
Phase Two: Networking
Once all non-resident criminals have been cleared out from the property, Phase Two begins. Phase two of CCBPI, which is called the Networking phase, shifts focus to the eviction of problem residents and networking the children within the intervention area (preventative interaction).
During the initial development of our philosophies and concepts, we quickly realized that the weakest link in a community, the children, is also the strongest link to the community. Children represent the "path of least resistance" with the fewest misconceptions about uniforms, race, or trust, and have the least amount of ill feelings towards the "police." Simply put, the children are the most accessible point in the environment and, therefore, the starting point for developing relationships with the community. Phase Two is implemented with the focus on cultivating relationships with the children of the targeted area.
Phase Three: Anchoring
The Networking phase helps bring about the third phase, "Anchoring." This phase is a natural progression of relationship development from the Network Phase. Through the children, officers’ get to know brothers, sisters, friends, mothers, fathers, and other family members.
In Phase Three, CIS officers are directed to network the residents (specifically the parents), through the children. What occurs in the relationship dynamics between the officer and the community, when officers network children, is a natural process. Parents begin to pay attention and interact with officers. Many who were shy or avoidant start looking at officers through the eyes of their child who has been positively interacting with the officers.
Children talk about officers around the dinner table. They talk about them when they show their parents their creative style in their coloring books. They talk about officers spending time with them and how nice they are. Anchoring, in Phase Three, is aimed at solidifying the officer's relationship with the families of the community. As bonds develop between CIS officers and families, one can see drastic changes emerge in the community's attitude towards "law enforcement" personnel.
Once relationships with the children and their parents solidify, real communication begins to occur. Officers build relationships to the point where children and parents start reporting criminal activity that they observe. Residents start giving officers information and build a trust that directly impacts criminal activity on properties.
During this family anchoring stage, CIS officers also get to know the outside family and extended family members. This aids in determining who actually belongs in the intervention area and who does not. Naturally, this approach requires that CIS officers are assigned exclusively to specific areas--not rotated from one intervention area to another. Relationship building takes time, but without doubt, it creates drastic changes.
The CIS site: http://www.cisworldservices.org/index.html
I thoroughly understand the vast difference between a CIS officer and a citizen. With intensive education and training, the officer represents a powerful tool on the front line of fighting drug abuse. Many of the things these officers do cannot be accomplished by the concerned community members. Some require experience and particular skills. Other activities are just too dangerous for ordinary citizens.
But, the Proactive Intervention and Preventative Interaction tactics represent tried and true measures the Scioto Drug Task Force has used for many years. I believe it is time to widen our base, recruit new members, and pinpoint our plan of attack. We know this battle is a fight that has multiple fronts.It affects health, jobs, crime, welfare, housing, business, politics, and coercion in Scioto County.
Since the influence of drug abuse is so widespread, we need people with many different talents to effectively create lasting change. For many years, we have begged citizens to get involved in the actions of change. Sympathizing with the goals of the movement and supporting these goals with thoughts and with prayers are very important. Yet, the real work gets done with actions.
I believe our Facebook group can help by becoming a dominant force in the face of a serious health epidemic. I, for one, do not like to "talk the talk" unless I can also "walk the walk." So much has been accomplished already that has contributed to our goals. I hope people realize the nationwide scope of the evil pill mill conspiracies and the injustice, pain, and death owners, doctors, pharmacists, lawyers, and dealers caused. These enterprises had deep tentacles that reached into every conceivable dark crevice of the criminal underworld. These creatures took countless thousands of lives and made untold millions of dollars in blood money.
Now it's time to stop drug abuse here in Scioto County. I feel good about what has been done but fearful that the criminal element will thrive if we are content. Our work is nowhere near finished, and our needs have grown. The progress that has been made has come with hard work, dedication, and fearless participation. The majority of the accomplishments resulted from blood, sweat, and tears, not from dollars. That is how we should work together to fight evil and restore our community. In doing so, we are teaching our children and grandchildren about the human spirit.
If you choose to engage, others may attempt to intimidate you further. It happened to me and to my family. I no longer fear the threats and the veiled actions of the dark side. For Pete's sake, when medical doctors, business people, lawyers, and other people who are perceived as respected individuals prey on innocents, they deserve punishment and stiff justice equal to their ugly crimes. These thugs have crippled and killed people I loved and have attempted to poison the very soil I have vowed to defend. I can promise you that if you do decide to help, you will be a respected warrior against drug abuse.
The problem is NOT too huge to tackle. The enemy is NOT in charge. And, the truth is NOT to be found by legalizing drugs.
Your children ARE in danger when you do nothing to stop evil. Your justice and freedom ARE lost when you let others take them from you. And, your free will and your indomitable human spirit ARE dead when you let intimidation rule your short time on earth. Rise up, Scioto County! Are you ready to strengthen those CIS actions?