Drug Market Intervention Strategy
Tools for Practitioners
This section offers information to practitioners new to the National Network strategies (Basic Implementation Guides) and those who are experienced in applying them (Advanced Tools). The Innovations section highlights cutting-edge approaches to particular components of the strategies, such as offender notification, gang enforcement, performance management and other areas.
Lt. Daniel Gannon of the Providence Police Department was one of ten individuals to be honored at the White House as the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s 2011 Champions of Change. Lt. Gannon, a 25-year police veteran, is the district commander of Chad Brown, the second neighborhood in Providence to experience outstanding success with its implementation of the National Network Drug Market Intervention strategy. Listen to Lt. Gannon describe how the strategy not only rid the neighborhood of open-air drug dealing and related violence but also led to a remarkable resetting of police-community relations. Providence is one of eleven Leadership Group jurisdictions working towards advancing the National Network's strategies nationwide.
Lieutenant Daniel Gannon of the Providence Police Department
Lt. Daniel Gannon, Providence, Rhode Island
What convinced you to implement the Drug Market Intervention strategy in your District?
After visiting other National Network jurisdictions, such as High Point, NC, and Hempstead, NY, and seeing the success they have had with implementing the strategy, I knew the DMI was exactly what I needed in my district. Historically, the police and the community have operated as two separate entities, not seeing eye-to-eye on many levels. For me, the DMI was a way to not only work in the community but also work with the community and start a rebuilding process that was based on trust, honesty, transparency and partnership. Today, we enjoy a great relationship and as a result calls for police service decreased 58% in the district, reported drug crime decreased 70%, violent crime plummeted 74%, property crime 23%, and drug-related calls to police went down 81%. We eliminated an open-air drug market and gave the community back to the residents.
What are two or three essential components of successful implementation of the DMI strategy?
I think two essential components of successful implementation are community engagement before, during, and after the implementation as well as a strong partnership with a social service agency and after-care programs. After a DMI call-in, it is very important to stay involved in the community and continue to strengthen these partnerships. In Providence, we implemented a Youth Police Initiative (YPI) that partnered a police officer with a at-risk youth from the community for three weeks. The officer and the youth got to know each other and at the end of the program, both the officer and the youth talked about what they had learned about each other. It was amazing to see how much they had in common. We then started a program called "Night Vision," which is a structured program run by a community member with strong support from the Police Department. The program runs five days a week from 6pm-10pm and is the only program in the city for teens at night. We currently have over 200 youth enrolled in the program with an average of 60-70 showing up nightly. I believe these types of initiatives are very important to sustain the success of a DMI.
Name the biggest benefits of your efforts.
The biggest benefit of our efforts is the reduction of crime in the target area and watching residents enjoying their newfound community. Where drug dealers once stood selling their wares, children now play. Prior to DMI implementation, drug dealers and prostitutes controlled the streets and cab drivers, pizza delivery men and utility services would not come into Chad Brown’s public housing development after dark for fear of getting robbed or shot. I set some personal goals, one of which was to get the basic local services come back into the neighborhood. This goal has been met.
Name the biggest challenge you faced in your efforts.
The biggest challenge was getting a two part buy-in, both from police officers and residents. The officers eventually saw the changes in the relationship with the residents and started participating in community activities on their own time. The residents were shell-shocked from past experience with law enforcement and it took longer to gain their trust. Consistency and respect were the main components in building the strong relationship with the community, and it was well worth the effort.
What advice would you give others in law enforcement thinking about implementing the DMI?
I would advise any police department that is considering implementing the DMI to visit other police departments that have implemented the strategy and ask a lot of questions. While there are steps that must be followed, I found that the steps do not have to be completed in any specific order....but all the steps must be completed. Networking and learning from other police departments who have implemented the DMI is key.