There have been significantly more arrests, narcotics investigations, drug seizures and traffic stops in Benton County since new Sheriff Kelley Cradduck took office in January. They say it’s all because of teamwork.
The sheriff’s special operations division is made up of four units: narcotics, street crimes, gang unit and DWI enforcement.
“The narcotics investigators might be doing a drug case where they’re doing undercover drug buys and they see someone come in to a situation who has violated a law or maybe carrying drugs or committing some other kind of crime and they’ll contact the gang unit,” said Capt. Brandon Rogers.
Sharing information often leads to arrests before a crime is committed.
“You can go out and get the bad guy before he ever decides to even do that next robbery or do that next burglary,” said Sgt. Andy Lee.
Sharing that information within the same law enforcement agency isn’t as common as you might think, but it’s standard procedure in the special operations division.
“If you spend a lot of time working one case you felt ownership of that case and a lot of times someone else could come in with maybe better information, maybe could make a better case,” said Capt. Rogers. “But people were really possessive of that. Now the way we have it set up everyone gets credit for the work that’s done.”
In the first quarter of last year $8,000 was seized from drug operations. This year almost the total is $26,000. More pills, marijuana and methamphetamine have been taken off the streets as well.
The gang unit another example of proactive enforcement.
“If you’re not on top of these gangs, they’re gonna start to run wild,” said Sgt. Lee. “Some of these gangs have already committed murders and they’re doing dope deals every day.”
The special operations division has seized 8 vehicles from drug dealers so far this year. Last year at this time there had been no vehicle seizures.