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Lacey Police Engaged In "Concerted" Effort To Eliminate Heroin Epidemic

Lacey Township municipal and school officials have engaged in a very concerted and cooperative effort to raise public awareness regarding what's become a local heroin "epidemic," said Police Chief David A. Paprota.

Heroin is a the very complex problem that is not only plaguing Ocean County, but the entire state, he said in a statement. Those cooperative efforts continue and are being expanded as we move forward into 2014.

The chief appeared to be responding to a Patch report last week that listed Lacey as having the 11th highest number of reported heroin abuse cases of any town in the state.  

The chief's statement goes as follows:

On February 27, 2013, over 800 residents of Lacey Township attended an informational event at the Lacey Township High School during which it was revealed that the Lacey Township Police Department investigated 43 drug overdose incidents in 2012 which involved 8 accidental drug and/or alcohol overdose deaths, according to the chief.

"The staggering numbers brought to light the rising opioid drug epidemic which has been closely linked to prescription pill abuse throughout the country. Furthermore, the 2012 home or business burglary statistics reached 119 separate burglaries within Lacey Township in 2012. Investigation has consistently revealed that the burglaries committed in Lacey Township are invariably linked to the use of illegal drugs," he said..

In 2013, the Lacey Township Police Department engaged in a multifaceted approach to the very complex societal problem of drug abuse and the associated criminal conduct that negatively impacts a residential community.

First and foremost, enforcement efforts were increased, as the limited resources and staffing of the police department were redirected toward drug and alcohol enforcement. The personnel in the detective bureau and the uniformed patrol personnel most notably focused on drugs, underage consumption of alcohol, as well as burglaries.

The efforts were directed toward reducing victimization within Lacey Township and reducing the number of accidental deaths due to overdoses. The dedicated members of the police department, with the help of the community, effected 126 arrests for illegal drug possession in 2013. These arrests included 30 charges for the distribution of illegal drugs in Lacey Township. The drug dealing charges came as a result of extensive investigations which often included lengthy surveillance operations, controlled buys, and search warrants. The detective bureau personnel and uniformed patrol officers worked tirelessly to complete the investigations.   

The enforcement efforts were one part of the overall approach. Public awareness and the involvement of parents throughout the community was seen as a key component in mitigating the negative impact of illegal drugs and alcohol abuse in our community. The police department stands firm on the belief that parents and family are the essential component is decreasing drug abuse and addiction. Likewise, keeping the public informed through weekly police blotter releases has raised public awareness and allowed the residents of Lacey to be more engaged in dealing with the illegal activities occurring in their neighborhoods. The public information released through the police department’s website and through the available social media outlets has resulted in over 200 substantive, anonymous “crime tips” in 2013 from residents throughout the township. Furthermore, the prescription drug drop box, installed within the lobby of police headquarters in February of 2013, has provided residents with a mechanism for disposing of unwanted medications. Well over 700 pounds of medications were collected in the box and properly destroyed in 2013, thereby lessening the availability for misuse of the prescription drugs within the township.

While 2012 was very difficult, as it produced very staggering statistics for Lacey Township, Ocean County as a whole has seen the problem actually expand greatly. In 2013, county-wide accidental, drug overdose deaths more than doubled from 2012 through 2013. It is clear that communities throughout Ocean County are struggling with this epidemic. Based on the drastic increase in drug overdoses and overdose deaths in Ocean County, the fear was that Lacey Township would follow the disturbing trend and experience twice and many overdoses and overdose deaths in 2013 as the township experienced in 2012. Those are hypothetical numbers that would be devastating for any community.

With 2013 now behind us, the results of the effort put forth by Lacey Township as a community appears to have helped mitigate the negative results of drug abuse in Lacey Township. The number of drug overdoses investigated in Lacey Township reduced from 43 incidents in 2012 down to 32 incidents in 2013. The number of accidental drug and/or alcohol overdose deaths decreased from 8 in 2012 down to 7 in 2013. These decreases occurred at a time when the remainder of the county as a whole was experiencing a more than 100% increase. Likewise, the number of residential and commercial burglaries in Lacey Township decreased from 119 burglaries in 2012 down to 60 burglaries in 2013.

The reduction in drug overdoses is a very positive trend in Lacey Township; a positive trend for which we are committed to making every effort to continue. Continuing the positive trend will require the community’s commitment to engaging the issue as we move forward in 2014. The reduction in burglaries and the close correlation with illegal drug abuse, means that 59 less families experienced the victimization of their residence being entered by a drug user while they were not home. The police department’s goal in dealing with the illegal drug epidemic plaguing our state is not only geared toward saving lives through reducing drug overdoses, but also deals squarely with reducing the victimization of Lacey Township residents that results from the crimes commonly committed by illegal drug users.

All residents are encouraged to read the weekly police blotter posted on the Lacey Township Police Department website at www.LaceyPD.org. By staying informed about what is occurring in the neighborhoods, residents are better prepared to recognize illegal activity and report the activity in a timely manner. 

Since assuming command of the Lacey Township Police Department in January of 2013, I have greatly appreciated the overwhelming support of the community. Continuing the progress this community has made in such a short time will require a concerted effort by all. We, as a community, have no shortage of work and challenges ahead of us, but this past year has shown me that Lacey Township is most certainly up to the task.


John Doe January 05, 2014 at 02:58 AM
blah blahblah blah blah i call bs. but we will see if anything changes.. only thing i see now is the police pulling over us kids and searching our car for no reason nd then not finding anything thy say sorry and leave it a mess and send you on ur way. lacey pd are a bunch of pr.cks except the select nice few.
The Captain January 05, 2014 at 06:47 AM
Ouch. Well although I am big on NOT trampling on peoples rights, the 4th amendment, and the constitution (which seems to be ignored these days) if there IS probable cause (and not ridiculous stuff like an asprin in plain sight) then go for it. Especially if the PD truly thinks its a druggie or someone up to committing crimes. If that is abused like some of cases across the country then get a good attorney and file suit. But am not hearing that here at all so far. These guys seem to be really good at what they do and good cops with good results. One just heroically saved a pregnant mom in a fire! So give them a break. Especially since they are really trying to stomp out this horrific drug problem!
Joey Joe January 05, 2014 at 07:42 AM
"the police department, with the help of the community, effected 126 arrests for illegal drug possession in 2013. " Pretty sad for a little one lung town to have 2 drug arrests per week last year. Last night coming home from Wawa with Lottery tix in hand I see a 14-15 year old walking away from Caffrey's with a 6 pack of beer in his hand sharing with his friends (also same age) - pretty sad as well.
robin January 05, 2014 at 08:17 AM
so joey-joe did you call in about it ???
robin January 05, 2014 at 08:17 AM
so joey-joe did you call in about it ???
y o y in this world January 05, 2014 at 08:23 AM
Parents also need to get into their kids lives. Get your heads out of the sand n talk with them. Are they acting different. Are their friends looking funny. Check it out n go meet the kids parents. No who n where your kids are. I no 1 kid who post pics of him drunk n looking for party's. No shame. Drugs n drinking is not the answer to solving your problems. Just leads to bigger 1's. GET INVOLVED
BB January 05, 2014 at 08:58 AM
Joey-Joe-its people like you who talk but dont act that hurt everyone-did you report these kids?
Abby Normal January 05, 2014 at 09:01 AM
Parents have to be parents again. I know how being unemployed and in poverty can stress a family and cause people to make the most horrible decisions, but parents must still be parents. As for older family members in this mess, families must not enable them. The entire community has to get involved to root this out.
Abby Normal January 05, 2014 at 09:04 AM
Actually, come to think of it, the police could write an article on Patch about what residents -without children- should do. What should people look for, what are some typical behaviors and trends of dealer homes or people? Help the readers be more proactive. Tips to protect your home, stuff like that. Reporting this is one thing, helping the rest of us could be pretty awesome.
hardesthit January 05, 2014 at 09:56 AM
@BB , what a ludicrous stament. It's "people like you that hurt everyone"? I also would bet your a hypocrite who had a beer before you were of legal age, if not , I stand corrected , and am surprised.
BB January 05, 2014 at 10:15 AM
Hardesthit-when someone says that "I see a 14-15 year old walking away from Caffrey's with a 6 pack of beer" dont you think the right thing to do is call the police? How did Joey Joe know these kids? Bunch of BS....
hardesthit January 05, 2014 at 10:41 AM
So , that makes him the problem? Not the kids parents? Here's the thing, when I was 15, I am sure I did the same thing. If Joey called the police, it would not have made a difference. On the other hand, if my parents were better at giving a sh*t, I wouldn't have been doing it. It's the kids parents fault.... Not Joeys.One more thing , I happen to have a 15 year old son.and I am 100% certain it was not him that Joey saw. Get it?
grace January 05, 2014 at 11:20 AM
ooh@ BB @joey did nothing wrong just said what he saw..how do you know what he did or didnt do..stop looking to distract from the real problems here... one is caffreys...can you buy a 6pk there?
Fred Smith January 05, 2014 at 11:36 AM
I'm all for educating the public but Chief Paprotta needs to talk less about all the intricate plans he has for battling the drug problem and start doing some actual police work. I understand the chief is running a side business since he became chief. It should be noted he was discouraged from operating this business when he was a captain. I personally don't believe he can adequately perform the duty of chief while also focusing on running a business,
ZeeZee January 05, 2014 at 11:40 AM
Yes I agree with Grace.......
grace January 05, 2014 at 12:21 PM
ooo please elaborate @fred
Fred Smith January 05, 2014 at 12:40 PM
The chief has a business where he teaches classes to police officers on how to pass promotional tests. When he was a Captain he tried to have his schedule changed to better accommodate his business schedule. I'm sure that now that he makes his own schedule it is configured to the benefit of his business rather than the dept.
grace January 05, 2014 at 01:08 PM
wow @ fred sounds like to me another job that once you get in - your in like flint as they used to say...
grace January 05, 2014 at 01:09 PM
lol sounds like toms river schools
Joey Joe January 05, 2014 at 10:34 PM
@BB - actually I did call the LTPD non-emergency line...gave them the location and direction walking and I was thanked... Oh yeah and as far as your other comment, I NEVER SAID I knew the kids... but I'm able to discern an approximate age.
Nicholas Cage the II January 06, 2014 at 01:06 AM
Oh Joey ,let the lil ni**az enjoy their beer . What ever happened to minding your own business ? Does it make you feel better having the lil guy arrested for walking with a brewski ? If that's the case go be a mall cop .
tr January 06, 2014 at 11:13 AM
Happy to see a Chief of Police who is unwilling to HIDE the problem and instead face the problem and be pro-active with the school system, whether they like it or not! Now we need a more competent Municipal Alliance organization that looks to our kids needs and not have a emphasis on seniors. We need a PAL or youth center of some type to give kids something positive to do other than negative substance abuse. We also need a town prosecutor and judge who are unwilling to take care of their fellow attorneys by letting these DEALERS off so easy. They need to send the message, zero tolerance in Lacey, and no deals, just hardline justice. We the parents and citizens of Lacey have rights also, not just criminals with high priced attorneys and lots of drug money to spend on them. If all of this doesn't happen I predict that people will eventually take the law into their own hands and drug dealers will be found hanging from trees around Ocean County. People will do anything to PROTECT their children.
grace January 06, 2014 at 11:45 AM
hey @ joey wow someone is in a mood and cageless

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