420 initiative called a success

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Sunday, April 22, 2012
— Local law enforcement agencies joined forces to make drug arrests Friday, a day some marijuana users reserve for getting high.

April 20 is 4/20, and 420 is a code that refers to smoking pot.

Friday’s operation included the Rock County Sheriff’s Office’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Team/Special Investigations Unit, the Wisconsin State Patrol, Beloit Police Department Drug and Gang Unit, Janesville Police Department Street Crimes Unit, Evansville Police Department and Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigations, according to a sheriff’s office news release.

The effort was dubbed the Rock County 420 Initiative.

About 24 officers and four drug-sniffing dogs participated in the operation, which targeted vehicles on highways and roads all over the county, said Sgt. Jay Wood of the sheriff’s office.

Officers stopped 109 vehicles, resulting in 49 traffic citations and 157 warnings, 15 drug arrests and nine warrant arrests, according to the news release.

The drug arrests included possession of marijuana, possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to the news release.

The state patrol made one drunken-driving arrest during the operation, which ran from 3 to 11 p.m., Wood said.

The news release stated the effort was a success.

“Every enforcement action, I believe, is worthwhile, whether you get 75 arrests or two arrests,” Wood said. “It’s to ensure the safety of the community at large. … As law enforcement agencies, we feel we need to protect our communities.”

Wood said some officers worked their regular shifts, while other officers’ time was paid for with federal money through the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program.

April 20 has also become a day when advocates call for legalization of marijuana or its use as medicine, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Wood said it is not his place to make political statements, but it is law enforcement’s place to enforce the laws.

Last updated: 8:06 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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