Drug arrests rise in Dalton from 2010

Drug arrests rise in Dalton from 2010

February 28th, 2011 by Joy Lukachick Smith in News

DRUG ARRESTS FOR JANUARY

2010 / 2011

Drug sales 2 / 10

Drug possession 16 / 35

Source: Dalton Police Department

Drug arrests and seizures in Dalton, Ga., more than doubled in the beginning of 2011 from the previous year, city police say.

While police have not conducted any special drug sweeps, Chief Jason Parker said, "a lot [of arrests] are coming from officer stops."

"It could be a small amount of marijuana or a large amount of drugs," he said.

In January 2010, police counted two charges of selling drugs and 16 charges of possession. This January, the count was 35 possession charges and 10 sales charges, police statistics show.

But police said they don't believe the increase in drug arrests means more drugs are being trafficked this year.

Parker said the department's drug unit is fully staffed this year, which could contribute to more stops and arrests. Drug arrests also fluctuate throughout the year, depending on how many traffic stops are made, he said.

The most common drug seized on the streets is marijuana, police spokesman Bruce Frazier said.

At last week's Public Safety Commission meeting, Parker asked to use $51,000 from the drug fund - money seized during drug busts and arrests - to buy two replacement sport utility vehicles for the police department. Safety officials approved the request.

Dalton police also reported an increase in DUI arrests for the beginning of the year.

In January, police arrested 17 people on DUI charges, compared with 12 in the same time period last year, statistics show.

Parker said one of his goals for 2011 is reducing the number of DUI crashes, which he said could have contributed to the higher number of arrests.

Officers can use different options to regulate drunken driving, Parker said. Some choose to patrol more heavily during later hours.

Officers already conduct small-scale weekly checkpoints, but Parker said those likely will become more frequent as the year continues.

Councilman George Sadosuk commended the police department for its efforts to crack down on drunken driving.

"This is just part of the police doing their job," he said. "There is always a concern of DUIs."