One month into Project High Enforcement Action Team (H.E.A.T), Sault Police Chief Hugh Stevenson updates the public on the findings and seizures to date.
He has described the project as “a success” thus far.
Responding to the community need for more police exposure in the downtown core, Project H.E.A.T consists of officers on duty in that area on foot, bike, and mobile dealing directly with the citizens in the area from 3pm-3am, gathering intel 7-days a week.
Seized items include 2,000 meth tablets, 121 grams of cocaine, 40 grams of fentanyl, 30 grams of crystal meth, 19 grams of heroin and 15 grams of weed. In addition to the drugs, valued at $18,000, police seized $2500 cash, a sawed off shotgun, pistol, rifle and handgun.
Throughout the past month, the project has also led to the execution of 31 outstanding warrants, 69 arrests and 127 charges. These arrests have taken both traffickers and users off the streets. Chief Stevenson emphasized “It’s about punishing the supply chain. We want to try and help people and treat them but we also need to go after the people who are selling and distributing the drugs here to really take on the issue of opioid distribution which is affecting not just us in the Sault but a number of cities across the province.”
“Our goal is to get this stuff off the street, find out who is bringing it in and prosecute them to the full extent of the law,” Chief Stevenson told local media at a press conference this morning. “Our next step is to look at where the materials came from, the guns, the money, the drugs, and follow that path to the person or people who are benefitting financially from this organized crime. It is an intelligence-led approach to investigating the supply and distribution chain of opioids in our community.”
Chief Stevenson also believes that “cleaning the streets” will have other positive impacts on crime rates in the Sault, ultimately making people feel safer in the downtown area. “When they (users) need a form of a fix, they need to find money. How do they do that? They break into cars, into garages, into homes. So if we take that mid-level distributor off the streets, then there is less drugs and less general calls for service. This stuff causes violence, causes family issues, causes children’s issues and all kinds of other secondary offences. Drugs are the core of these issues and general occurrence will go down.”
The project is anticipated to continue until September, when it will be re-evaluated. Chief Stevenson made it clear that this cannot be done without the support of the community, and encourages people with questions, concerns, comments, or something to report to reach out.
Email [email protected] for more information. Crimes can be reported to any officer or to Crime Stoppers.