The Future of Your City | Part 5 of 9
Today I would like to address the drug problem in our community and what we are doing to address it.
There is no doubt that the drug problem has become more visible over the past few years. Sadly this issue is much larger than just the City of Manitowoc.
Manitowoc County focuses on this issue in collaboration with each municipality. The drug issue isn’t just Manitowoc’s problem or Two Rivers’ problem. Drug deals don’t stop at the municipality line. Therefore, a collaborative effort is required. Manitowoc County Metro has 6.5 full-time officers dedicated to this issue. 2 from the City of Manitowoc, 1 from Two Rivers, and 3.5 from Manitowoc County.
Manitowoc County takes a hard stance on this issue. My goal is to make Manitowoc known to all drug dealers as a place that they do not want to do business. Recently, drug overdoses have been treated as reckless homicide and each death is investigated as to where the individual got their drugs from. Drug busts have also seen much larger cash bail requirements (anywhere between $5,000 – $50,000), which drug dealers do not want to deal with. Our new District Attorney is doing an excellent job of making this a priority and cracking down on it and our detectives and law enforcement personnel know this is a major issue for our community. Just last week we had 3 major drug busts in 24 hours because of the diligence of metro drug, our detective bureau, and our officers.
The City of Manitowoc also has 2 K-9 dogs that are trained to detect drugs. The K-9 unit has been broadly supported by the community and we now have over $100,000 in the Lakeshore Community Foundation for this cause. The K-9’s also get into our schools to show our young kids that we take this issue seriously. Education is key. Our local law enforcement does an excellent job of getting out into the community, into schools, and at events. You’ll see our K-9’s out everywhere and there’s a purpose for that. We are being proactive, rather than reactive.
The City of Manitowoc Police Department is a drug drop off location for any unneeded or unused drugs. 2016 will see the highest amount of drugs that were dropped off and the State of Wisconsin is #2 in total drop off’s in the nation, which shows us that people are well aware of the fact they can drop off their unused drugs and that we are making a good effort to get these drugs out of the hands of individuals who want them.
In 2016 we received a Heroin Grant of $12,500 to specifically provide dollars for overtime to deal specifically with heroin related cases. We expect this same grant in 2017 and we also will receive a similar grant to deal with meth, which we are also starting to see an increase of. In 2016 I also shifted an officer to the Metro Drug unit to provide even more assistance for their efforts.
We need to clean up our neighborhoods. This may sound like a small thing, but I believe it will have an impact on drug use in our community. One of our positives is that we have a low cost of living here. For drug dealers, that’s their positive also. We need to go after slum-lords and we need to deal with blight, which I have budgeted $250,000 in 2017 to deal with.
This is a major issue, but I am confident that our law enforcement and courts are cracking down on drug dealers and cleaning up our community. Please contact our law enforcement agencies if you suspect drug use in your neighborhood. We need your help to tackle this issue.
We are 4 weeks away from the election.
I want to pledge to you the voter, and to my opponent Mr. Nelson, that I will keep this campaign civil and focused on the issues facing our community. I will challenge Mr. Nelson on his platform and on his statements, but only to provide facts for the voters. However, neither myself nor my campaign will tolerate any personal attacks on my opponent or his family, or false claims or offensive behavior. We do not need federal politics and elections in Manitowoc.
I assure you there will be no “March Surprises” from my campaign or my supporters. I am focused on getting my message to the voters and I will focus on my plans for our community over the next 4 years to earn your vote. I will work tirelessly these next 4 weeks to hopefully prove that I am the better candidate.
If I am fortunate enough to earn your vote on April 4th, I will be delighted to work with Mr. Nelson to continue making this a great community. If I lose, I will support the new mayor and I will encourage all of my supporters to do so also.
I hope to have the opportunity to speak to all of you over the next 4 weeks to share my vision and my plans for our community. Visit my campaign website, www.justinnickels.com, to learn more and to see when the campaign headquarters is open. Please stop down and chat with me any time.
Until next week, Thank you.