Darren Campbell NEW.jpg

Darren Campbell

Those of you who know me understand that I like to use definitions as a way to frame a concept. I want to explain why we conduct large-scale drug-arrest operations such as Operation Zero Tolerance, Operation Southbound, Operation No Fooling and, most recently, Operation Autumn Sweep.

“Ripple effect” is defined by Wikipedia as “a situation in which, like ripples expanding across the water when an object is dropped or thrown into it, an effect from an initial state can be followed outwards incrementally. Ripple effect is often used colloquially to mean a multiplier.”

When we perform these types of operations, the ripple effect is very detectable in the community.

First of all, to use the last part of the definition above, this is a force multiplier. The brave citizens who stepped up and said enough is enough and provided us information see the fruits of their efforts finalized. They trusted us enough to give the information, and they see we followed up on the information and it made a difference.

Secondly, we gather criminal intelligence. Some of the suspects arrested see that the way they have been going is probably not the best for them, and they decide to give us information on other drug dealers or drug distribution systems. We are able to take their information and use it to help find the missing piece in other cases, thus allowing us to make even more drug cases, which lead to even more arrests.

Thirdly, more unease in the dealer world is created. Drug dealers read newspapers, listen to the radio, search and look at social media and, of course, talk to one another. When large groups of dealers are arrested, they know some if not the vast majority of the arrestees are going to talk to save themselves or to get a better deal in court. Paranoia builds in this group and makes dealing even more dangerous for them.

Perhaps the most important point is that conducting these types of ongoing operations makes Iredell County a safer place to live and work. When drug dealers are arrested and go to jail or prison, it truly does make it harder for others to obtain illegal drugs. If these drugs are harder to acquire locally, then the crimes which go along with drug sales and addiction to illegal drugs tend decrease as well.

We can see a direct correlation in our property crime reports when drug dealers are taken out of our community. Home and car break-ins, larcenies, and even violent crimes such as assaults and armed robbery drop dramatically. Just this week, the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation contacted my office to make sure our low reported number of property crimes was accurate. We were able to validate the number we sent to them for the yearend report.

In closing, let me address another issue. Notice that I have labeled the suspects we arrested as “drug dealers.” These suspects sold directly to or were witnessed selling drugs by an undercover narcotics investigator. We are not staking out methadone clinics or drug treatment centers where people addicted to these types of drugs go to receive much-needed treatment and other services. We are doing just the opposite. We are in the neighborhoods and communities here in Iredell

County where theses dealers sell their illegal drugs: heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and prescription medications.

I believe we can all agree that by taking these people out of our county, we make Iredell a safer place.

If you would like to speak further about this subject or any other topic, please feel free to contact me at decampbell@co.iredell.nc.us or 704-878-3180.

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Darren Campbell is Iredell County sheriff.