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MPD Initiative Focuses On E. Washington Ave. Corridor

The Madison Police Department is launching a high visibility, high profile, enforcement campaign today aimed at deterring heroin sales and use along the busy East Washington Ave. corridor.

The effort will be multi-faceted and will include the use of sign boards placed along the busy thoroughfare. The message will be clear and concise: "MPD Drug Enforcement Zone Ahead."

Backing up the signs will be an action plan utilizing a variety of MPD resources to include: North District & East District Community Police Teams, the Traffic Enforcement Safety Team (TEST), and North & East District patrol officers. All will be giving the corridor extra attention. This will be done through a full spectrum of law enforcement strategies. Citizens can expect to see uniformed officers, squad cars in parking lots, and there will be tactics utilized that are less apparent.

"This enforcement activity is no different from what our officers do daily with the enforcement of illegal drug sales and possession. We are adding an increased visible approach to our efforts to bring this serious issue to the public's attention. We hope that with this awareness citizens will call us when they see illegal drug activity take place," said Lt. Carl Strasburg, MPD North District.

The targeted enforcement area will be along E. Washington Ave., from First Street to Interstates 94 & 39. Officers will focus on gas stations, fast food restaurants, grocery stores, and shopping centers. MPD crime analysts have determined these locations to be heroin hot spots, where the drug is frequently peddled, and where those buying often ingest. Many do so immediately after purchase as they are desperate for a "fix." This has resulted in people driving while under the influence, at all times of the day. Some have gone unconscious and crashed. Others have overdosed in bathrooms, and in parked cars. When first responders arrive, it is not uncommon to find users not breathing. Many lives have been saved. Some have died. Heroin also provides the motivation for a host of crimes: retail thefts, burglaries, thefts from autos - to name a few.

The epidemic gripping Madison - and other Wisconsin communities - is a public health crisis which cannot be solved through law enforcement actions alone. However, the MPD is committed to do all it can to thwart heroin sales and use, particularly in high density areas like the East Washington Ave.: a busy corridor where large numbers of innocent people work and live, and through which an even greater number of citizens commute.


  • Joel DeSpain, 266-4897