Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $300,000)
The “Charleston Drug Market Intervention” initiative will use $300,000 in U.S. DOJ Byrne grant funding to enhance and improve the City's interagency and multi-agency program to target, shut down, and keep closed overt drug markets that cause addiction and breed violence and disorder in Charleston’s most distressed neighborhoods. Already successfully launched and piloted in Charleston, and modeled after DOJ’s “Drug Market Intervention, An Implementation Guide” and successful efforts in other West Virginia cities, the DOJ resources will enable Charleston to establish more robust and sustainable personnel and program infrastructure to expand and maintain these efforts.
West Virginia is ranked worst in the United States for drug use, according to recent analyses that assess drug use and addiction, drug-related crime and law enforcement, and drug health and rehabilitation issues. However, Charleston knows that it cannot just arrest itself out of these problems, and that whole-of-government approaches to reduce, prevent, and divert individuals from selling drugs through Drug Market Intervention efforts is a critical and smart step to reduce the problems. The Charleston Drug Market Intervention (DMI) project will:
Bolster and maintain a DMI working group, led by an experienced civilian coordinator involving the Charleston Police Department, legal prosecution personnel, social service agencies, neighborhood and community organizations, the Charleston CARE Office (Coordinated Addiction Response Effort), and other cross-agency and stakeholder representatives.
Map Target Drug & Crime Areas: Charleston will create targeted drug market intervention areas using tools including UCR Part I Crime reports, service call analyses, field contacts and sources, narcotics and crime investigators, probation and parole officer reports, neighborhood and community information, police intelligence sources, surveillance approaches, and GIS mapping technologies to identify particular drug markets, dealers, and associated crime patterns. These tools and interagency collaboration will be used to refine the target list of drug markets and sellers, refer violent or serious offenders for immediate potential prosecution, and identify remaining candidates for intervention.
Engage the community & neighborhoods: The DMI Workgroup will engage the families of drug sellers, influential community members, local business owners, faith organizations and other neighborhood stakeholders both directly and in community meetings, to help them understand and support the DMI approach, and cooperate in the DMI plan to call candidate perpetrators for intervention.
Prepare for and execute perpetrator call-ins: The DMI coordinator and workgroup will then bring in perpetrators for call-in meetings with influential family and community participants, in a meeting that makes clear that selling drugs must stop, that non-prosecution rehabilitation and social service strategies can be provided, and that arrests and prosecution will follow if the DMI approach is refused or violated.
Follow-through, maintenance, evaluation and improvements: The DMI coordinator and workgroup will coordinate with community members, social service agencies and organizations, substance use disorder resource agencies, and others to monitor DMI participants, carry through on law enforcement promises of prosecution for violations, provide rehabilitative and support services, evaluate outcomes for both individuals as well as neighborhoods and the DMI system, and use data and lessons learned to assess opportunities for improvement in the DMI approach.
Charleston seeks to use this DOJ funding to establish a sustainable DMI system and approach, to build collaborative trust in key neighborhoods, to disrupt destructive drug and crime patterns, to reduce drug selling, to rehabilitate non-violent offenders and help put them on more positive pathways, and to reduce drug-related crime, arrests, and resources spent on prosecution and incarceration.