SD Law Enforcement Officials Asking For Public’s Help To Fight Drugs
Public Can Provide Them Drug Related Crime Tips By Texting 'Drugs' To '82257'
South Dakota law enforcement officials hope texting will help them in the fight against illegal drugs. A program called ‘Project Stand Up’ was rolled out Thursday, which will allow citizens to send them text messages about drug crimes taking place across the state.
Sheriff Mike Milstead says meth-related arrests are up 60 percent in the first four months of 2017 in Minnehaha County.
Milstead said, “I’ve sounded like a broken record for a couple years now about meth in our community and the dangers it is posing.”
The Minnehaha Co. State’s Attorney says their cases are up 17 percent, around 800 more, compared to this time last year.
“These crimes against our community, against our families, against our children are propelled by this horrible drug and the nature of that addiction,” said Minnehaha Co. State’s Attorney Aaron McGowan.
Authorities say meth along with other drugs are creating a ripple effect. Drug use is causing an increase in other crimes, putting a strain on the justice system, and health systems across the state.
“Drug use and abuse has an impact on healthcare. We see it in the emergency department probably on a daily basis,” said Former Sioux Falls Police Chief Doug Barthel, now in Public Affairs at Sanford Health. “Frankly, a lot of those people that come through the door don’t have health insurance, don’t have coverage, yet we’re still stuck with those costs and those expenses.”
Now by texting ‘drugs’ to ‘82257’, the public can send law enforcement anonymous tips of possible drug related crimes.
South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said, “The public provides a very, very important piece of law enforcement. That’s where we gain a significant amount of our information, whether it’s a 911 call, whether it’s an anonymous tip, whether it’s witnessing something and cooperating with us. I mean, we’re able to better do our jobs in protecting the public when they help us.”
The information will be sent to DCI, and depending on where the tip originates, to their local sheriff’s office or police department so they can respond accordingly.
Authorities say Sanford Health donated enough money to keep it sustainable for several years. They are also helping with resources to provide education to students in schools.