(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser highlighted the Metropolitan Police Department’s Narcotics Enforcement Unit’s (NEU) success in getting illegal drugs and unregistered guns off the streets. The NEU, a unit within the Narcotics and Special Investigations Division, covers all seven police districts and focuses attention on reducing and preventing drug-related crimes. In addition to confiscating illegal drugs such as synthetic cannabinoids, cocaine, crack-cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and phencyclidine (PCP), the unit also assists in recovering illegal firearms. In 2016, the NEU recovered a total of 42 guns as part of their operations. This year, the unit has already recovered 49 illegal firearms.
“By keeping dangerous drugs and illegal firearms off the streets of DC, the Narcotics Enforcement Unit plays a vital role in keeping Washingtonians safe,” said Mayor Bowser. “When we launched a comprehensive drug strategy in 2015, we had two goals - provide our public safety officials with the tools they need to crack down on drug suppliers and ensure our residents are getting connected to the resources they need to fight and recover from drug usage or addiction. Today, that is exactly what we are doing.”
2015, Mayor Bowser worked with then Chief Cathy Lanier to create the NEU as part of a comprehensive drug strategy that shifted the Department’s focus from targeting low-level drug users to the suppliers who feed dangerous narcotics into DC’s neighborhoods. NEU officers work in tandem with other divisions to target street level narcotic trafficking cases throughout Washington, DC.
“Here at the Metropolitan Police Department, we want to be innovative and effective in achieving our public safety goals,” says Chief of Police Peter Newsham. “The men and women who work on the Narcotics Enforcement Unit put their lives in danger every day, and I am extremely proud of their work.”
In the first two years of the Bowser Administration, Washington, DC saw a nine percent decrease in total crime, with violent crime down seven percent and property crime down nine percent. In recent months, the Administration has worked to make MPD more accountable and efficient by realigning the Patrol Services Bureau, implementing sector policing, and equipping all patrol officers with body-worn cameras. Last month, Mayor Bowser announced that “DC Values in Action: A Roadmap to Inclusive Prosperity,” the Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget and Financial Plan, includes an $11.7 million investment to recruit and retain more MPD officers and allow more officers to focus on patrol-related duties.
Today’s event comes one day after Mayor Bowser co-hosted the Regional Opioid and Substance Abuse Summit with Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. At the summit, the Mayor highlighted the District’s efforts to gain a better understanding of opioid use in Washington, DC, and the strategies put in place to help residents addicted to opioids.