Best Practices - Vol. IV

Mayor Martha S. Wood

Street Drug Enforcement Unit

In August 1996, the Winston-Salem Police Department began operation of a Street Drug Enforcement Unit. The mission of the SDEU was to shut down the open air drug markets by arresting drug buyers and seizing their vehicles. Strategy sessions between the District Attorney's office and the police resulted in agreements on the use of specific statutes for these cases, procedures for seizure and forfeiture of vehicles (proceeds from the sale of the vehicles will go to the school system) and development of tactical plans and prosecutorial strategies. The police DO NOT sell drugs, but a placebo resembling crack cocaine.

Since the inception of the Unit, 290 individuals have been charged with felonies and 499 have been charged with misdemeanors. The Unit has worked in every sector of the City and has arrested individuals from all walks of life. Efforts in one neighborhood resulted in the arrests of three major suppliers to the area. Residents of that neighborhood have expressed their appreciation for the Unit's presence as well as their excitement about "reclaiming" their community. During 1996, the Winston-Salem Police Department seized drugs valued at $2,753,906 and property valued at $38,063 through interdiction efforts at the Postal Service, package delivery services and the airport.

Contact: Office of the Mayor, (910) 727-2058

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The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
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