After two years of surveillance and about 90 disturbance phone calls, a known drug house in La Crosse is finally boarded up. But now residents want to know why it took so long to shut it down.
The duplex at 214 and 216 on South 24th St. in La Crosse has been on the La Crosse Police Department's radar for a few years now.
La Crosse Police Chief Ron Tischer said it took a little longer to shut down the drug house than expected, but it's the first of its kind in La Crosse, and they wanted to make sure everything was justified and legal so that the case would hold up in court.
"From my stand point, it took a long time,” said Tischer. "I feel for the neighbors. I talked to them a lot and I wouldn't want that drug house next to me,” said Tischer.
So then why did it take so long to finally shut it down?
"It's one of those things that we have to get all of our ducks in a row to make sure we are doing it right and following the law,” said Tischer.
Tischer said this specific case was unique.
“The problem with this house was we had absolutely no cooperation from the owners,” said Tischer.
Tischer said in the beginning the owner would evict people, but then rent to others who were also involved in drug activity.
"Every month the changeover there was incredible, new people coming, new people going, or people going and people coming so it was getting hard to really focus in on getting some good arrests,” said Tischer.
Eventually the La Crosse Police Department had enough reasonable cause to get a search warrant and forced the tenants to move out.
“Then a week later new people moved in and we had to start that whole process over again,” said Tischer.
With the help of community members, the police were able to build a solid case against the owner.
"Get a good quality case that doesn't have any holes in it, so when you take it through court it's going to stick,” said Tischer.
It may have taken longer than anyone would have liked, but it's important to make sure things are done right the first time.
"In the future, hopefully we won't have to ever do this again, but if we do, we are going to be prepared to make that happen faster,” said Tischer.
Tischer said they were able to finally close the doors on the drug house because of help from community members. He understands people don't want to get involved sometimes, but the La Crosse Police Department really needs that help from the public in cases like this.
In this case, the police used multiple statements from residents to provide enough reasonable cause for the court to rule in the matter.