When there's someone strange in the neighborhood, who ya gonna call?
"Dope busters!"The "busters" are actually members of the Utah County Narcotics Enforcement Team, and their job is to curtail drug traffic throughout Utah County.
Lt. Terry Taylor, the team's field operations director, said, "I personally think that the Narcotics Enforcement Team is the best thing that has happened to Utah County in the 17 years I've been working here."
And his feelings are based on concrete facts.
The team was created on Sept. 1, 1990, by combining the drug task forces from North and South Utah County. Since then (as of Dec. 1), the members of the force have made 184 arrests.
That is a significant increase according to Taylor. And those are just bodies, he said. "That doesn't include the number of cases that were cleared up, because it is possible that one person was involved in more than one offense."
Ted Peacock, director of Orem's Department of Public Safety, said the Narcotics Enforcement Team has been very active in making arrests.
"One of the things we are trying to accomplish is to decrease overlap in countywide drug-related cases," Peacock said. And all the city departments have information that is vital and valuable to the others.
Sergeant Lee Fox, from the Utah County sheriff's office, works with the team's education program.
"We realize that we are only one part of the criminal-justice system," Fox said. "So we want to get everyone in the county working toward the same objectives and bring all their resources together."
Taylor said this union should alleviate some of the problems that local drug-enforcement forces have had to face in the past.
"Drug dealers don't stay in specific areas, they move around," he said. And once a dealer moves from one city to another, he moves out of the jurisdiction of one police force to another.
Now, the system covers all of Utah County, and the Narcotics Enforcement Team has been able to tie a lot of cases together, Taylor said. For example, "we're finding stolen property from other crimes when we make arrests. There is a definite connection."
Fox said that sometimes there is a problem after the arrest is made.
"We need more support from our judges," Fox said. Sometimes the sentences they give the people who are arrested are a joke.
Taylor said, for all the work that team puts in, it is sometimes frustrating to see someone like a wholesale drug distributor get only five months in jail.
According to Taylor, the substance that is most often connected with arrests is marijuana.