La Crosse, WI – Drugs are the main cause behind a rising tide of criminal activity in the La Crosse area, mayoral candidate Bill Feehan said after meeting today with Police Chief Ron Tischer.
"I fully support Chief Tischer's plan to create a specially trained street crime unit," Feehan said. The proposal, which Tischer said would be intended to ‘go get the worst of the worst,' will call for adding six officers to the current force of 93 in the 2014 budget.
"Most people are probably aware of the rise in drug-related deaths in our city last year, but they may not be aware of the hundreds of lives saved by local paramedics from drug overdoses," Feehan said. "This is a problem that demands serious action."
Cities of comparable size have a police force of between 99 and 103, according to Tischer.
Feehan would also work with area legislators Rep. Billings, Rep. Doyle and Sen. Shilling on changes to state law to help law enforcement agencies pursue criminals across local jurisdictions. Such an agreement already exists with La Crescent, Minn.
"I think it's crucial that the mayor, police chief and legislators all cooperate on important issues like this. Taking down these barriers is one way to make a real difference," Feehan said.
Feehan cited the recent arrest at the La Crosse Amtrak station as an example of what will make dealers think twice about showing up in La Crosse. "Chief Tischer had many ideas of how we can replicate that success in the future," Feehan said.
"We need to ensure the police have what they need to defend our neighborhoods from drugs and rising crime like robberies," Feehan said. "As mayor that's exactly what I will do."
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