(The Center Square) – The Oregon State Police are launching several strategic fentanyl enforcement and disruption strategies at the direction of Governor Tina Kotek, she announced this week.
Kotek announced the news at the second convening of the Portland Central City Task Force.
“I want all Oregonians to know that the state is moving forward with several new fentanyl strategic enforcement and disruption strategies,” Kotek said in a press release. “I’m grateful to Superintendent Codding and his team for bringing forward an urgent and thoughtful plan. As we work to cut the supply of fentanyl and hold dealers accountable for selling dangerous drugs, I also remain fully committed to expanding access to critical behavioral health services.”
Portland Central City Task Force Co-Chair Dan McMillan said the announcement shows Kotek is taking the opioid epidemic seriously.
“This announcement says something important about our governor: she is impatient about the right things,” McMillan said. “We have committed to deliver actionable recommendations from the task force in just three short months. The fact that the state is putting skin in the game this early bodes well for the work ahead.”
The Oregon State Police’s Fentanyl Strategic Enforcement and Disruption Initiative includes doing the following, according to the release:
Increasing and reallocating staff to strategic local drug enforcement teams, including local and regional teams.Designing and hosting interagency saturation patrols with an emphasis on fentanyl interdiction using teams of narcotic enforcement K-9s, drug enforcement detectives, and patrol resources.Partnering with the DOJ to update and make interdiction training available to our public safety partners to avoid unlawful searches and address potential biases prior to the implementation of enhanced enforcement strategies.Extending their High Visibility Enforcement Unit (HVEU) pilot that kicked off this summer, which uses a data-driven approach to identifying drug and alcohol-impaired drivers who present a danger to public safety.
Oregon State Police Superintendent Casey Codding said her department will do what it takes to stop the uptick in fentanyl dealing and use in the state.
“The terrible impacts of fentanyl here in Oregon are plain to see,” Codding said. “The Oregon State Police is steadfastly committed to stopping its distribution and increased use in our communities through proactive interdiction and enforcement, and through collaboration with community, public health, education, and public safety partners.”
So far this year, Oregon State Police have seized 62 pounds of fentanyl powder and 232,962 fentanyl pills, according to the release.
“The Governor has made her position clear that public consumption of controlled substances is a problem that needs to be urgently addressed in this upcoming legislative session,” the release said. “She commends Mayor Ted Wheeler and the Portland City Council for their partnership in this effort in passing an emergency ordinance in recent weeks. The task force will discuss a path forward and work with legislators to fix the issue.”