Syringe and pills

To Whom it May Concern:

In October of 2017, President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency. Ever since, the Trump Administration has applied an all-of-government type approach to the epidemic, taking an extraordinary range of actions that reflect the President’s commitment to stopping the crisis in its tracks.

Until the summer of 2019, I never felt the direct effects of the opioid epidemic. In August of 2019 I lost a loved one to an overdose. I made it a personal goal that day to find ways the drug epidemic could be more effectively combated. The President of The United States declared the epidemic a public health emergency, so what could Columbus do to better contribute locally?

During my quest to answer that question, I spoke to numerous Columbus police officers, two Franklin County Deputy Sheriffs, a Whitehall Narcotics Officer and two Columbus Drug Enforcement Agency agents. I also obtained the Columbus Police Narcotics Bureau Annual Reports for 2015-2016-2017 and 2018 through a public records request. This is what I found….

“The mission of the Narcotics Bureau is:

To interdict the flow of illegal narcotics into Columbus and specific geographical areas within its boundaries. The majority of the resources will be allocated to this first goal.”

The above statement is the first and primary goal of the Columbus Police Narcotics Bureau. However, the Columbus Division of Police takes limited steps to ensure this goal is met. In fact, limitations are in place that prevents this goal from being reached to the furthest realms of its potential. In recent years the overdose deaths directly related to illegal narcotics within Columbus have skyrocketed.

The increase in overdoses should make the seizure of narcotics within Columbus a higher priority now than it has ever been in the past. The Narcotics Bureau jobs within the Columbus Division of Police are selected based on seniority with one exception – being fluent in Spanish. However, in a rare exception of being able to bypass seniority through the use of temporary assignment officers, a temporary long-term administrative transfer and the utilization of young officers based on speaking Spanish, one unit has excelled past the rest of the investigative units within the Columbus Narcotics Bureau. This has proven undoubtedly how seniority negatively affects the productivity of the bureau.

The drive, passion, dedication and determination of the younger officers within one unit of the bureau, which is titled “Investigative C,” have proven to be instrumental in the seizure of high quantities of narcotics within the city. Through the utilization of younger and less senior officers, the “Investigative C” unit has seized 1.5 TIMES the amount of narcotics

(Heroin, cocaine, fentanyl, methamphetamine combined) within 2 years (2017-2018) than Investigative Units B, D and E COMBINED have seized in the last 4 years!!! (2015-2018).

If looked at evenly over the last four years the “Investigative C” unit has seized 2.3 times the amount of narcotics than the other units COMBINED over the span of those 4 years. With citizens of Columbus actively dying due to the incoming flow of illegal narcotics, it would seem that seizing the most narcotics possible would take priority over seniority within the division, however this has not been the case.

“The mission of the Narcotics Bureau is:

To interdict the flow of illegal narcotics into Columbus and specific geographical areas within its boundaries. The majority of the resources will be allocated to this first goal.”

If the above statement is the primary goal of the narcotics bureau, then how can statistics be ignored? Statistics that prove when seniority is out of the picture, drug seizures have the potential to significantly increase within the city. This could in turn result in the preservation of life.  

If the above statement was the true goal, then the division would take whatever necessary steps to ensure that goal is met. However instead of choosing younger, deserving, and motivated officers, the division uses seniority as the deciding factor which has effectively filled the Bureau with a majority of veteran officers preparing for retirement. Until the selection process for these proactive investigative jobs has changed to reflect more than seniority, the amount of drugs seized within the city will continue to dwindle far below the potential and continue to negatively affect the citizens of Columbus.