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Burlington police initiate door-to-door discussion of illegal drugs

  1. SmokeTwibz

    Police officers knocked on doors Wednesday afternoon to talk to citizens about illegal drugs in their neighborhoods.

    These initiated conversations were part of the police force’s renewed effort to reduce drug use and related crimes.

    “You want to gain information about any possible criminal activity and you want to send a message,” Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan said Thursday. “There are people out there who are suffering from drug addiction who we want to help. But at the same time, if people are out there selling heroin, cocaine, hard drugs, we’re going to prosecute you.”

    Burlington police spearheaded the knock and talk accompanied by state and federal law enforcement agencies. They handed out nearly 500 letters that explained their tactics, urged citizens to call in tips and implored folks involved in illegal drug activity to get out and seek help.

    “IF YOU ARE OR HAVE BEEN INVOLVED in crime or drug dealing or are addicted to narcotics and want it to stop DO NOT HESITATE TO CALL FOR HELP,” read part of the two-page letter, which used all capital letters for emphasis.

    People in search of such help, it suggested, could call the Street Outreach Team, a group staffed by HowardCenter employees who work with, but are not, police officers.

    The letter also warned folks willingly involved in illegal drug activity to brace for prosecution in both state and federal courts.

    “If you bring drugs into Vermont from out of state, the full resources of the federal justice system will be brought to bear,” it states.

    Burlington police have reached out to citizens before, but not like they did Wednesday afternoon, according to Deputy Police Chief Andi Higbee.

    “Nothing to this extent where it involved the number of organizations and agencies that were involved,” Higbee said of the effort.

    The letter distributed Tuesday was signed by Burlington Police Chief Mike Schirling, Donovan, Attorney General Bill Sorrell and U.S. Attorney Tris Coffin.

    July 11, 2013
    Matt Ryan | Free Press Staff Writer

    Author Bio

    My name is Jason Jones. I'm from Rochester, MN and I'm 35 years old. I scrap metal and work as grounds keeper at a local trailer park. In the winter, I shovel a bunch of driveways and sidewalks to make some extra money and to stay busy. In my free time, I try to find interesting articles about the war on drugs that I can post on Drugs-Forum, so that the information can reach a wider audience.


  1. OnTheStrength
    You don't see police officers doing this in low income racially diverse neighborhoods. I've seen and been victim of drug addicted task force detectives shaking down anyone and everyone they can to maintain heroin/meth/crack habbits. Vermont might as well be a world away from where I live.

    If police behaved like this everywhere in our beloved country, me and many others wouldn't despise them so much.
  2. Diverboone
    This sounds great, but I worry that there may be an ulterior motive being pushed here. "Knock and Talks" are notoriously used to gather/gain evidence. They increase the area or scope of the "Plain View Doctrine" and some elicit admission in the face of duress.

    I hope this is not the intent and that the law enforcement in Vermont do have compassion and care for the public.
  3. Beenthere2Hippie
    I cannot find a single pure motive in the Burlington, Vermont Police Department’s mentality. What good could possibly come from these "knocking and talking" with police tactics? Will any real addicts looking for help get help? No way. If they’re discovered, they’ll get busted; if the admit to it, they wind up twiddling their thumbs at home or in jail since Burlington is not in a position to help right now.

    According to a May 28, 2013 article in the Burlingtonfreepress.com, “Vermont has 150 authorized physicians to prescribe buprenorphine (Suboxone), the medication, but is struggling to deal with what officials say is an opiate addiction epidemic made worse by the increasing presence of heroin in the state. More than 300 people are on a waiting list in Burlington for medicated addiction treatment, including buprenorphine, according to state officials. Waiting lists exist in several other parts of the state as well.”

    This “knock and talk” nonsense is a police raid and nothing more. Sad.
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