East Mulberry Corridor Task Force
Operation New Dawn
May 2012-June 2015
East Mulberry Corridor Task Force
EMCTF= Ending Mulberry Crime and Trafficking and
Finding Solutions to Problems in the Mulberry Corridor
Over the last 2 years, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office has identified the East Mulberry Corridor (Mulberry Street between Summitview Drive and C.R. 5) as a high crime area. Criminal activity identified and investigated in this area include aggravated assaults, simple assaults, illegal narcotic s use and distribution, prostitution, weapons offenses, financial and fraud related crimes, as well as a high number of property crimes including burglaries, thefts, and trespassing. Additionally, at least three reported accidental overdoses of heroin, an illegal controlled substance, have resulted in two deaths.
There are many reasons why this area has had an overall increase in criminal activity over the past several years. These include but are not limited to the overall economic downturn evident across the country, state and county, the degradation of property values, abandoned homes and businesses, degradation of the hotels and motels in the area resulting in lower rates for motel rooms, a lack of new businesses investing in the area, the concentration of placement of parole and probation clients in the motel district specifically, and the heretofore lack of law enforcement proactive presence in the area. In 2011, the LCSO designated the EMC for targeted proactive patrol and adopted a “zero tolerance” enforcement zone. This increased the amount of unobligated patrol time by patrol deputies in the area, resulting in more vehicle, pedestrian, and traffic stops. This in turn resulted in more self-initiated arrests and criminal cases being filed. Overall, this strategy has been effective in making a positive impact on criminal activity in the area. However, it has not resulted in solving the crime issue. Solutions must be developed to decrease and eradicate criminal activity in this area even if the criminal activity is merely displaced to another location. Not addressing these problems will result in increased criminal activity, the solidifying of this area as a known criminal enterprise zone, a continuation of the already observed degradation of motels, buildings, businesses resulting in less motivation for business to locate there, cheaper motel rooms, and attraction to this area by the criminal element, increased emergency and non-emergency calls for service for law, fire, and EMS, and a continual drain of community resources by those living and operating in this area.
WE ARE ONE AGENCY, ONE MISSION: PUBLIC SAFTEY
Our Mission is to protect and preserve life, liberty and property by providing superior public safety services in Larimer County.
This includes high-crime areas such as the East Mulberry Corridor (EMC). Therefore, LCSO has created the East Mulberry Corridor Task Force (EMCTF) and Operation New Dawn. We will work as one agency to achieve our mission of providing superior public safety. Specifically, the efforts of the EMCTF will be to concentrate our efforts on the EMC.
The Goal of Operation New Dawn is to successfully address the amount and type of criminal activity occurring in the East Mulberry Corridor using a three-pronged approach involving Criminal Investigation and Enforcement at the local, state, and federal level, Community Outreach, Education, and Involvement, and Coordination of other Government Resources and Services. The agencies involved in the coordinated efforts include but are not limited to Fire, EMS, Probation, Parole, Health, Human Services, Code Enforcement, and Planning and Zoning. We believe that by successfully addressing the crime problem by removing it and/or displacing it from this area, the overall quality of life for residents, business owners/employees, and guests/tourists will greatly improve, thus providing a safer, more desirable environment for future business and neighborhood growth and prosperity. As stated, the achievement of this goal will require the attention and engagement of not only law enforcement, but also the community, private sector, and other government services and organizations working together. This goal will not be accomplished easily nor will it occur quickly. However, it is achievable utilizing teamwork and determination by everyone involved. We believe that this overall goal can and will be achieved by June of 2015.
I. Investigation and Enforcement:
The EMC has been identified as a high crime area. The operations plan includes Investigation and Enforcement as a major component of Operation New Dawn. To this end, Investigation and Criminal Enforcement in this area is a high priority.
LCSO has created an internal task force comprised of members of Patrol Division, Investigations Division, Jail Division, and Support Services Division. The purpose of the EMCTF is to provide the necessary resources to address the investigation and enforcement element of Operation New Dawn.
Patrol Division will be responsible for the day-to-day response, investigation, and enforcement of criminal statutes. Each Valley Patrol Squad has a representative assigned to the EMCTF for each shift. Coordination of daily activity will be the shared responsibility of the shift supervisor and the deputy assigned to the EMCTF. Overall coordination and supervision of Operation New Dawn has been assigned to Sgt. Rick Russell. Oversight of the entire operation has been assigned to the Patrol Division Lieutenants assigned to Day Shift, Swing Shift, and Night Shift. The Patrol Division Commander, the Investigations Division Commander and the Sheriff will provide resources and support of Operation New Dawn.
Zero Tolerance Criminal Enforcement:
Since 2011, LCSO has adopted a philosophy of "zero-tolerance" of criminal activity in the EMC. This philosophy will continue to serve as a guiding philosophy, but only one element of the three elements identified as an overall strategy for Operation New Dawn.
Sgt. Russell, with the assistance of the Patrol Lieutenants, will coordinate regular selective enforcement projects utilizing resources from Patrol and Investigations as well as occasionally including outside agencies such as Colorado State Patrol, Fort Collins Police Services, Larimer County Drug Task Force, as well as state and federal law enforcement agencies as necessary. These projects will occur at least on a monthly basis and will require flexibility, and cooperation at all levels. Sgt. Russell will brief the Patrol Lieutenants on a monthly basis and will communicate regularly with all members of the EMCTF. Focus of these enforcement projects will be street-level narcotics, prostitution, fugitive apprehension, and property crime enforcement. With the assistance of the Crime Analyst, Lynn Hay, statistics on calls for service, self initiated cases, and crime trends in the area will be vitally important to the success of Operation New Dawn.
Enforcement of State Traffic Code goes hand in hand with Criminal Enforcement. Criminals must operate motor vehicles, even if only occasionally, in order to further their aims. Therefore, deputies and investigators will utilize traffic enforcement as a means to positively impact the criminal element operating in the EMC. The EMCTF will utilize the LCSO Traffic Safety Unit, and elicit the assistance of CSP and FCPS to occasionally assist in this endeavor.
Technology and Communication:
Communication among EMCTF personnel is of primary importance. Utilizing technology resources for EMCTF members is absolutely a top priority. To this end a Google Document has already been created as a record of or running log of work, incidents, communications, and developments related to Operation New Dawn. The ability to utilize higher-speed internet on the MDS in the field to access Google Documents related to the EMCTF, TDRs, Cop link, RMS, JMS, internet searches and resources, and better communication is vitally important to the success of Operation New Dawn. Work has already begun on addressing the technology needs of the EMCTF personnel such as the possibility of providing smart phones with built in high resolution cameras is necessary. A high priority should be placed on providing these needs for the success of Operation New Dawn.
Necessary training for the personnel assigned to the EMCTF is a necessary and high priority component of ensuring that our personnel are properly equipped to deal with the unique challenges associated with responding to, investigating and enforcing criminal activity such as prostitution, street-level illegal narcotics use, distribution, and manufacturing, as well as gang issues, collecting and documenting criminal intelligence, as well as a myriad of other challenging enforcement activity. Training seminars such as Street Crimes, which will incur tuition costs per attendee, and 28 CFR on-line training, which is free, and covers the legal issues surrounding the collection and dissemination of criminal intelligence are examples of training that must be provided to EMCTF personnel to better equip them to do what we are asking them to in achieving the goals and objectives of Operation New Dawn.
Criminal Impact Unit:
Due to the equipment and expertise needed to conduct some criminal investigations, LCSO CIU will play in integral role in serving as a liaison and partner in the investigation and enforcement of criminal statutes.
LCSO Investigations Division will also serve as an integral partner in Operation New Dawn, especially in the utilization of equipment and resources necessary to achieve our overall goals.
District Attorney and County Attorney:
The District Attorney's Office for Larimer County along with the Larimer County Attorney's Office will serve as liaison for enforcement activity and legal advisement and possible coordination of establishing new county ordinances to address the unique challenges of the EMC.
II. Community Involvement:
The involvement of the community at large is vitally important to the success and overall achievement of Operation New Dawn. Community outreach, education, and involvement will serve as the foundation of the operating plan for Operation New Dawn and this specific element.
LCSO and the EMCTF will take a lead role in reaching out to the community in the EMC. Meeting community leaders, business owners, and developing rapport and cooperation will be key to success in resolving the problems and issues present in the EMC. Reaching out to business organizations and associations will also be a key responsibility of the EMCTF.
Educating the community at large, including the business owners, residents, and employees of the businesses in the area will also be a top priority of the EMCTF.
LCSO will ensure that proper training is provided for members of the EMCTF on how to deploy POP programs in the EMC. Additional training for EMCTF members such as Street Crimes Seminars, Crime Free Hotels, and others as identified will be vitally important to the overall success of the EMCTF. Additional training opportunities including shadowing specialized units in other agencies such as FCPS District 1, Jefferson County Sheriff's Office Direct Action Response Teams (DART), and others will be sought and accomplished.
There is no need to re-invent the concepts and strategies of Problem Oriented Policing (POP). POP has a proven record of assisting law enforcement agencies in addressing problem areas and neighborhoods all across the nation. This is a vitally important component that will enhance the success of Operation New Dawn.
Business Owner Meetings:
LCSO EMCTF Members will take the lead on establishing regular meetings of business owners to educate them on the efforts and goals of Operation New Dawn and to solicit their support and cooperation.
Neighborhood Watch/Business Watch:
Establishing Neighborhood Watch and Business Watch Programs will be a vital component in the education of residents, business owners, and business employees in the EMC. EMCTF personnel will take the lead on working with LCSO Crime Prevention to establish these programs successfully in the EMC. EMCTF will also liaison with LCSO Crime Prevention and communicate regularly about issues, concerns, and trends in the EMC.
III. Coordination of Government Agencies and Services
As part of the all-communities approach to problem solving, it is important to identify and establish rapport and cooperation with other government agencies and service-providers. Through teamwork with all stakeholders the goals and objectives of Operation New Dawn will be successfully accomplished.
The process of identifying other stakeholders in the government sector has already been initiated. EMCTF personnel are already seeking liaison with other law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal level. Additionally, contact with State Probation, and State Parole are planned. Liaison with the Colorado Health Department and Larimer County Health Department has begun, as well as seeking out contacts with Larimer County Human Services and Child Protection. Eliciting the cooperation and assistance of emergency services such as Poudre Fire Authority, Poudre Valley Hospital and PVH Ambulance Services is also in process. As previously mentioned, the District Attorney's Office for the 8th Judicial District has already identified a DDA to be a part of the EMCTF, as has the Larimer County Attorney's Office. An initial presentation to the Board of Larimer County Commissioners (BOCC) and the County Manager has already taken place. Additional meetings will be planned to keep the BOCC and County Government appraised.
Initially, identifying liaisons, representatives, and contacts from each of the aforementioned agencies is necessary. EMCT personnel have taken the lead in this process and will soon complete it. Once identified, it will be necessary to meet and discuss coordinating efforts and agreement on goals and objectives.
Communication and Regular Meetings:
EMCTF personnel will take the lead on establishing contacts and liaisons with all government entities and agencies which play a role in or provide services to entities in the EMC. Additionally, regular meetings will be scheduled to discuss progress, setbacks, new issues, and concerns so that the communication channels between entities and agencies stay open. As coordinator for the EMCTF and Operation New Dawn, Sgt. Russell or his designee will be responsible for setting up regular meetings. Open and direct communication with all stakeholders will be extremely vital to the overall success of Operation New Dawn, and will serve as a primary function of EMCTF.
Operation New Dawn will encompass a great deal of hard work, cooperation, education, and planning. The EMC did not become the problem area it is overnight. Subsequently, successfully achieving the ultimate goal of eradicating the criminal element from this area or at least displacing it to another area, improving the quality of life to the residents, business owners and employees, as well to the visitors, tourists and investors, and returning the area to a vibrant community will also not be a quick process. We believe that a 3-year timeline is robust but also achievable.
Measuring our success will be somewhat problematic, however, also achievable by reducing the number of calls for service from businesses, and residents, even though self-initiated incidents will undoubtedly increase tremendously by the focus of attention this area will receive by EMCTF members. We will rely on Crime Analysis and the Criminal Analyst to assist us in measuring our success. Additionally, the establishment of time limitations on specific objective completion will be ongoing and well documented. The EMCTF will strive to meet the timeline markers and/or provide documentation why extensions or delays occur. On an ongoing basis and at least one time per month, the Patrol Lieutenants and Sgt. Russell will meet to review specific objectives and ensure timely completion and due dates. Ultimately, the success of Operation New Dawn will be a return of vibrancy, development, and business and residential growth in the area and the departure of the criminal element and displacement of the great deal of criminal activity in the area.