Mayor Update | Safety and working intelligently with the police a priority for Newport

2 mins read

By Mayor, Linda Joy Sullivan

Drug trafficking undermines parenting. It threatens the civility of Newport City’s life.

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Newport, like many communities, now fears being besieged by illegal drugs. Residents are frightened and the fears of gang violence and mugging are keeping residents at home. But still, even at home, citizens feel insecure. They are afraid of drug related break-ins and the fear of burglaries.

These threats define the goals of police action against drug Trafficking and use.

The goals (see resource note below) are:

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(1) reduce the gang violence associated with drug trafficking and prevent the emergence of powerful organized criminal groups;

(2) control the street crimes committed by drug users;

(3) improve the health and economic and social well-being of drug users;

(4) restore the quality of life in urban communities by ending street-level drug dealing;

(5) help to prevent children from experimenting with drugs; and

(6) protect the integrity of criminal justice institutions.”

Paired with drug trafficking is the recognition of the devastating effects of human trafficking on individual victims and on communities. This increased attention has led to calls for new legislation, greater awareness, improved investigations and increased assistance to victims of trafficking. As the co-lead sponsor of H. 603, now Act 140, signed into law by Governor Scott and as a trainer on anti-human trafficking and the grooming process, it must be noted that more than in any other profession, police officers are likely to encounter victims and traffickers in their everyday work through neighborhood patrols, traffic stops and responding to calls for service. Officers are in a special position to identify, intervene with, and ultimately rescue trafficking victims.

Police officers are often the first representative of a government agency that trafficking victims encounter. In fact, how officers and deputies manage that initial encounter and how they treat victims can be the ultimate determination on whether victims get the help they need and whether traffickers are actually held accountable.

It is imperative that the way some people view human trafficking victims needs to change. Some still see human trafficking victims as criminals because they are forced to engage in prostitution or other criminal activity themselves. These victims are traumatized and are less inclined to cooperate with police and prosecutors who are pursuing the traffickers.

Police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors and other law enforcement leaders must see human trafficking as a priority and devote the resources and attention needed to combat it. Definitions may vary, but the basics: Human Trafficking is the use of force, fraud or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Coercion is not required in cases of child trafficking. Human trafficking involves three components: an action, a means and a purpose.

Human trafficking occurs when a perpetrator, often referred to as a trafficker, takes an Action and then employs the Means of force, fraud or coercion for the Purpose of compelling the victim to provide commercial sex acts or labor or services. At a minimum, one element from each column must be present to establish a potential situation of human trafficking. For cases of sex trafficking involving minors, a means does not need to be presented in order to establish a potential situation of human trafficking. Human trafficking, unlike Human Smuggling, does not require the movement of a person. Someone can be trafficked without leaving their home.

As your Mayor, I look forward to joining together with Senator Russ Ingalls and others at the Community Forum at the Gymnasium at City Hall on February 22, 2024 at 6:30-8:30 P.M. to discuss Policing and Trafficking. We must explore the operational question of how best to deploy police resources to produce the maximum contribution to the achievement of the goals identified above.

I thank you for your confidence. Join me at my Mayor Hours every Monday and Wednesday morning from 9:00AM -11:00 AM at the Council Room.— Your Mayor, Linda Joy Sullivan

(Resources for this Mayor’s Update from Blue Campaign, Department of Homeland Security and Polaris)

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1 Comment

  1. The answers don’t require deep critical thought, just the balls to prosecute and jail the offender after arrest. It doesn’t matter if they are addicted or a dealer, Bring the guard in to sweep the city if you must but, GET THEM OFF THE STREETS!
    Only then do you listen to all the sad stories of why it wasn’t their fault they got addicted or forced to sell drugs, or how an unfair system forces them to choose between the carefree life of a druggie versus the demand to “put the shoulder to the wheel” and be a responsible citizen like the majority of us.
    It was their choice to be involved with drugs and not be part of society so sitting in prison pretty much puts both society and the criminal in a win-win situation.

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