Over the last several weeks there has been a great deal of discussion in Poulsbo on the heroin issue. While it isn’t necessarily a pleasant topic, it needs to be discussed. And action has to be taken.
The media has done a decent job of covering the problem, except that many of the stories make it appear that it’s only a Poulsbo problem. Actually it’s a nationwide problem, but we must get all of our service providers and law enforcement agencies to work together to fight it in Kitsap County — our home.
On Nov. 26, all of the law enforcement agencies, prosecutor, human service providers, courts, health department, mental health providers, coroner, and some elected officials of Kitsap County came together in Poulsbo to commit to understanding the problem and working together to fight it. I commend Mayor Becky Erickson for her willingness to step out in front and work with all of the city departments and the community to put together an aggressive action plan to combat the problem. We can’t just sit around and look at each other and wait for someone else to solve the problem for us.
While all of the jurisdictions need to work together, we must also face the fact that Poulsbo’s problem is owned by Poulsbo and we have to step up and take action. Mayor Erickson has been willing to do just that.
From the police department side, you will see extra bike patrols in the parks; eradication of homeless camps where drug paraphernalia is routinely found; tracking of paraphernalia to better focus on problem areas; directing homeless to service agencies; and, very importantly, adding a detective to investigate narcotics cases and some related crimes. This is a package deal so to speak and requires all of the pieces to work. As I’ve said before, we can attribute about 80 percent of our criminal activity to heroin.
You as community members can also help. We need people to report suspicious behavior and suspected drug activity; report drug paraphernalia when you come across it; avoid giving money to panhandlers; and adopt parks and open spaces.
We will make a difference in Poulsbo. The first steps are already done — we’ve recognized the problem.
Alan L. Townsend
Chief of Police
Poulsbo Police Department