Are anti-drug initiatives pushing dealers to smaller towns? - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Are anti-drug initiatives pushing dealers to smaller towns?

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Lauren Hughes lives in Fair Haven now, but she used to live in Rutland. She would frequently go walking in the evening and says she saw the drug trade reach its peak.

"I kind of got to know all the players on the street, so and when the cops started to be more of a presence, then things started to change. We wouldn't see this one any more, we wouldn't see this one; so we assumed they went off to jail," Hughes said.

But Fair Haven police say drug dealers are now doing business elsewhere. They believe dealers still bring drugs up to Vermont from the New York City area through smaller communities along the Route 4 to Route 22 corridor, like Fair Haven.

"Our criminal database is you'll look and they had complaint after complaint after complaint in Rutland. Well, now they're here," Fair Haven Police Chief William Humphries said.

People who live in Fair Haven tell WCAX News they've seen an increase in what they believe to be drug deals in places like alleys, behind buildings, or in places like in this park in the middle of town.

"You can see people handing stuff to each other in the park and stuff like that," said Bud Panoushek of Fair Haven.

Chief Humphries says right now they are on track to receive 1,800 calls for service this year, more than ever before, but he wants to stop that before it happens.

"We just need to continue the path, the enforcement level of service that we have now," Humphries said.

Those who live in Fair Haven also want to stop their town of just over 2,900 from being overtaken by drugs.

"I think where the police officers are on track here, is to announce that we're not gonna have this in the neighborhood," Hughes said.

Humphries tells us he wants voters to pass the upcoming town budget so he can keep the four officers. This will be the third time voters go to the polls. They have shot down the budget twice before. One of the contentious issues in town has been the money that would be allocated toward law enforcement.

We reached out to Rutland Police who declined to comment at this time.

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