Local group supports police anti-drug actions | AspenTimes.com

Local group supports police anti-drug actions

The Valley Partnership for Drug Prevention’s mission is to “promote the prevention of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use by providing resources, education and leadership to schools, families and community.” We have advocated this mission for the past 25 years. As members of the board of directors of the Valley Partnership for Drug Prevention, we have made a collective commitment to promote the health and well-being of Pitkin County residents of all ages, especially as they may be affected directly or indirectly by the abuse of alcohol and tobacco, or the use of illegal drugs.

We believe most Aspen residents think as we do that the Aspen Police Department should take all appropriate actions to apprehend drug dealers in our community. We also believe that Chief Loren Ryerson and his staff should be recognized individually and as a department for doing their jobs ” stopping crime and protecting citizens.

We believe that illegal drugs victimize our community. We need only contact the domestic violence staff at Response, the physician director of the Aspen Valley Hospital emergency services, the Aspen Counseling Center, the Right Door substance abuse treatment referral service, or the administrator of the Pitkin County jail to understand this. They are experts on the ramifications of tolerating drug-dealing. If drug dealers are selling in Aspen, doesn’t this increase the risk that our teenagers will have easier access to illegal substances? Is it a victimless transaction when illegal and dangerous drugs end up in the hands of local youth?

We believe that Chief Ryerson’s values demonstrate a personal and professional character of the highest caliber:

– He’s been a respected law enforcement professional in Aspen for over 20 years.

– He’s a father, deeply committed to his family and his community.

– He’s active in local youth sports, serving as a hockey coach and as an involved member of the Aspen Junior Hockey Board.

– He and other officers participate in the Outdoor Education and Experiential Education programs at the Aspen middle and high schools.

– Annually, the Aspen Police Department, under Chief Ryerson’s leadership, celebrates with Aspen Elementary School students who are recognized for their character and good deeds.

– Chief Ryerson has continued to support the assignment of a school resource officer on the Aspen School District campus to teach students about the law and substance use consequences and, in recent years, has increased that number to two.

– Chief Ryerson has served on numerous local community coalitions, including the Aspen Chemical Dependency Task Force and its Detox Subcommittee. He has participated in many public forums and panel discussions concerning issues about substance abuse prevention and intervention. He has consistently demonstrated that his law enforcement philosophy encourages the alcohol- and drug-addicted to seek help through treatment when possible, believing that incarceration is not the answer for many.

We believe these actions to speak volumes about Chief Ryerson, the Aspen Police Department’s community policing values, its commitment to the community, and that it has a balanced view of law enforcement ” but will not tolerate drug-dealing.

We believe that the residents of this community do not support a hands-off policy where drug-dealing is concerned. Perhaps the time has come to have a referendum to determine if there really is community support for a policy that directs our local law enforcement officials to ignore illegal drug-dealing. We may find that now there is community support to increase the pressure and the risks for illegal drug activity.

We believe that council members should collectively and individually support Chief Ryerson and his department in stopping the sale of illegal drugs with all necessary means that protect Aspen’s residents and visitors. We believe the tide of public tolerance for illegal drug activities is changing in Aspen. Now is the time to take a stand on Aspen’s quality of life by endorsing local law enforcement that upholds the law and stops drug dealers.

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