LA CROSSE, Wis. - It's been Chief Ron Tischer's top priority since taking the job, stop the flow of drugs in our city and the violence that comes with it. He recently announced the department is stepping up their efforts and their new plan includes help from the community.
When the Chief took over last year it was during the May's Photo double murder investigation. It was the latest in a string of violent crimes. Back then he promised to tackle the problem, today he's not backing off.
When it comes to taking on drug dealers, Tischer has a simple plan, "Make it very unpleasant to do business here and move them out of the city," says Tischer. The Chief has adopted a zero tolerance policy and says drug dealer won't catch a break anytime soon. "Everytime they want to come out and sell their drugs we're going to be on top of them and they're going to get arrested and they're going to keep getting arrested until they get the hint that they're not welcome here," Tischer says.
The department has plans to step up patrols in hot spots around the city and include undercover officers. But one of the biggest keys for the department will be the people living in those neighborhoods. "They are the eyes out on the street for us," says Tischer, "if they don't call us, we might not know what the problem is in their neighborhoods."
"We're going to make it very, very uncomfortable for them, so that this kind of stuff is going to stop," says Councilman Fran Formanek. He sits on the Neighborhood Revitilization Committee and thinks neighbors play a big role in helping curb drugs in violence, if they get involved in their neighborhoods. That means meeting their neighbors, talking on a regular basis because there is strength in numbers. "It's a lot easier for people to communicate in a group rather than one on one so if they can do that can bring the community more together as far as a group is concerned," says Formanek.
The chief calls it being a good witness. You know your neighborhood better than they do and can report when something looks out of place. It's the working together that has both men convinced they can take back the streets. "I think it's reached a level where people just aren't going to tolerate it anymore," says Tischer. "I feel confident we're going to get over this hump and take back our neighborhoods," says Formanek.
Tischer says police usually don't get called until something major happens, he's hoping that will change. He says they want to know every little thing going on in a neighborhood. That way they can deal with a small problem before it grows into something big.
Tischer admits the department can't arrest their way out of the problem and are looking into education programs as well as enforcement.
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