This year, like many past years, local law enforcement agencies engaged in what has become somewhat of a holiday tradition, by staging a drug roundup in the days before Christmas.
We’re not quite sure what to make of that.
Most of those arrested face charges of drug trafficking, generally involving prescription painkillers. And while it’s a safe bet that at least some of those charged will ultimately be found guilty, we’re not altogether certain that a Yuletide drug roundup should be a routine affair.
We can’t help but consider the many innocent victims affected by these drug busts. In particular, we can’t help but think of the children of the accused, who may very well wake up Christmas morning in foster care.
Certainly, those who are guilty of such crimes and should pay the penalty, no matter the time of year. We certainly don’t advocate that police should look the other way, just because the holidays are approaching. If someone is making an illicit living, trafficking in the illness of others, he or she should pay the price.
But we’ve never really been a big fan of the whole drug roundup dog-and-pony show, in the first place. It’s a public relations stunt, pure and simple, and it supplants good police work with showmanship.
Whenever these events take place, one of the first things we hear is how the roundup is the result of a six-month or nine-month or one-year investigation, during which numerous drug buys were made. We think taxpayers should find that troubling.
Certainly, some of the offenders were known to police early in the investigation. Some of the undercover buys were undoubtedly made in the first few weeks or months of the investigation. Why, then, allow those people to remain free for months longer? Simply so police can find a dozen more suspects, so they can make a big splash on front pages and the 6 o’clock news, when they finally arrest somebody? Doesn’t the drug-roundup mentality actually allow many of these pill-pushers to remain on the streets even longer?
Then, to postpone these PR stunts until a time when they will cause the most damage to the innocent families of the perpetrators … well, we have a hard time stomaching that.
We know that hard-nosed law enforcement is one necessary step to fighting the drug problem we have in Eastern Kentucky, and we support the officers who are doing their jobs. But we cannot support obvious PR stunts, particularly when they are designed to maximize the suffering of the innocent.
— The Floyd County Times