Law enforcement leaders plan to track pot-related arrests

2014-04-30T18:00:00Z 2014-04-30T20:41:04Z Law enforcement leaders plan to track pot-related arrestsBy PATRICK SIMONAITIS Star-Tribune staff writer Casper Star-Tribune Online

Wyoming law enforcement officials have begun closely tracking arrests involving marijuana, they said Wednesday, and they plan to take an educational approach toward an expected influx of the drug since its legalization in Colorado at the beginning of this year.

The Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police, a group of more than 100 leaders of law enforcement agencies across the state, announced the plan at a news conference in Casper on Wednesday.

The group is meeting for a three-day leadership conference at the Best Western Ramkota. The announcement was made in conjunction with the official release of the 2013 Alcohol and Crime in Wyoming report, a detailed document that tallies the number of arrests that involved alcohol and other drugs in the state.

The statistics are gathered at detention facilities, where inmates are interviewed after their arrests. Currently, the group tracks alcohol- and meth-related arrests closely, but all other drugs are lumped into a single category. Moving forward, marijuana will receive its own category.

“Tracking the number is the first step in making good decisions on it,” said Rich Adriaens, the president of the association and Sheridan’s chief of police.

“Any time you have a substance like marijuana become more available, there’s going to be increased use," Adriaens said. "With increased use, you have more intoxicated people, and that increases crime.”

Adriaens also cited a study published in August 2013 by Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, a group based in Colorado. The study found that from 2006 to 2011, traffic deaths involving drivers who tested positive for marijuana increased by 114 percent.

Adriaens said that along with beginning to track marijuana-related arrest numbers, the group plans to combat increased marijuana-related crime through educational methods, though he did not lay out any specifics.

“When you educate people, we find that they make the right choices when they have the right info,” Adriaens said.

Regarding the report as a whole, the group found that in 2013, alcohol and drugs were involved in 77 percent of the arrests in the state. Before last year, that number had held steady at 79 percent every year since 2010.

That 2 percent decline was fueled by a decrease in the number of alcohol-related arrests in the state last year. At the same time, drug-related arrests across the state jumped by 2 percent of the previous year in 2013.

In 2013, state law enforcement tallied 18,760 arrests leading to incarceration.

The 2013 report is the eighth report from the group, which began gathering data in 2005.

“Every year we do it, it’s more valuable,” Adriaens said.

He said the group looks to identify long-term trends and can track how certain initiatives affect those trends.

“It’s a useful tool,” he said.

Reach Patrick Simonaitis at 307-266-0574 or patrick.simonaitis@trib.com. Follow him on Twitter: @patsimonaitis.

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(34) Comments

  1. jjolo
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    jjolo - May 07, 2014 11:03 am
    another waste of taxpayers dollars and the ever expensive lost war on drugs gee let's make them all happy and go back to Prohibition see how that works out
  2. Spaniard
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    Spaniard - May 05, 2014 6:11 pm
    Wyoming: where promoting homosexual perversion and locking up gardeners is more important the preserving the western heritage.
  3. Reece
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    Reece - May 02, 2014 9:25 am
    I'm so glad my tax dollars are going to crack down on harmless pot smokers weed is big business for law enforcement and they will fight to keep it illegal. Its just another form of oppression and a guarantee they can keep they're for profit prisons full. God forbid they do some real detective work. Because we all know pot heads are a real problem in society and must be incarcerated and used for slave labor in the industrial prison complex but only after the state confiscates every thing they own ad sells it for profit! God bless America!
  4. TheOnion
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    TheOnion - May 02, 2014 8:50 am
    You sound ignorant when you call marijuana lethal.

    Here is a nice article about a 10 year study. It is from webMD.


    And you sound even more ignorant when you compare cocaine to marijuana. The only similarity they have is they are both currently illegal in Wyoming. Cocaine is physically addictive.

    Marijuana is less addictive than caffeine.

    You are comparing apples to hand grenades and it is making you look uninformed. Marijuana does not make people violent. I have been around hundreds and thousands of people who have been under the influence of marijuana and I have never been in a violent altercation. Go to a bar on a Friday night and your odds of seeing violence are greatly increased.
  5. WhatTha
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    WhatTha - May 02, 2014 7:34 am
    God I love when this "gossip rag" writes about marijuana. It gives me a solid laugh.

    With that being said, funny that out of all of the comments on this page, only two people are against marijuana use. How strange is that?

    Yes the stats for people tested for marijuana went up 114%. Wouldn't it tho? BECAUSE YOU JUST STARTED PAYING SPECIFIC ATTENTION TO IT. I mean after all, it clearly says marijuana was lumped into "other drugs". How bizarre. Maybe the cops needs to take a class in statistical data and learn how to interpret it properly.

    And your getting some of your data by interviewing people when they get to jail? Weird. Because NO ONE EVER LIES. As I'd they get to jail and they become a freaking saint right? After all, they asked to come there and are totally ready and willing to enjoy their vacation.

    Let the puppy slaughter continue.
  6. The Dude Abides
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    The Dude Abides - May 01, 2014 9:47 pm
    On a lighter note, I love the pic of the boys in blue. If those guys don't look like angry white donut munchers, I'm not The Dude...
  7. Wyoite
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    Wyoite - May 01, 2014 8:54 pm
    I'm dealing in facts. Marijuana impairs judgement. Marijuana kills. Marijuana makes some people (not all) violent and aggressive. You're dealing with a personal experience which is not indicative of every persons experience. You were able to lay down the weed and not pick it up again, some can't. Cocaine is not addictive to many people. They can try it and never do it again. That doesn't mean cocaine is not an addictive drug that causes many issues. Some folks can go out and drive cars 200 mph bumper to bumper every weekend and never get seriously hurt, should we all do that? Does that make it safe for everyone to do?

    I agree alcohol kills far more people on a national scale, what's your point? Since we allow alcohol to kill our children, we should also legalize other lethal drugs??
    Report Abuse
    ROTHLADOAD - May 01, 2014 5:38 pm
    More $$$ for the wealthiest most corrupt gang throughout America.
  9. Chris Christian
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    Chris Christian - May 01, 2014 5:26 pm
    Thanks Dewd! Keep Talking!
  10. Dewd
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    Dewd - May 01, 2014 2:08 pm
    There is a historic bit of irony here not to be overlooked.
    Back during the Prohibition era, Wyoming was a major---and I mean MAJOR --- supplier of moonshine whiskey. Some went to Denver, some went to the West Coast , but boxcars full of 'shine went to Chicago . It was a Mob operation . organized crime used Wyoming for a whiskey cartel. I believe one number than can be cited to show the extent of this is the Kemmerer area of Lincoln County was churning out 12,000 cases a month ( 12 quart bottles each ) for the Chicago boys. Up here in Park County , at its peak there were at least 37 stillhouses up in the Wapiti Valley west of Cody alone, and the Sheriff and his deputy couldn't even make a dent. Wyoming was a primary source of the illegal substance.

    The more you prohibit something that's both cheap and fun , the more the citizenry will want it. The attorneys general , the cops , and the selfrighteous politicos just don't get it.

    J. Edgar Hookah and Elliot Mess...those are good names for the latest cannabis strain pout of Boulder county. And soon , Laramie County, Natrona County , Teton County , Park County and the other nineteen counties of the Backward Cowboy State, I would hope.

  11. nls
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    nls - May 01, 2014 12:51 pm
    Average and Onion you guys are pretty funny.. Must be smoking some good stuff.
  12. smarts
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    smarts - May 01, 2014 12:41 pm
    I want to know why law enforcement is targeting pot while the synthetic version spice is flooding wyoming and causing kidney failure and death it's very popular in wyoming because it's not detected in urine tests but is causing problems by the mass
  13. TheOnion
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    TheOnion - May 01, 2014 11:33 am

    First of all I would like you to know that I do not use Marijuana. I work in a professional industry where I cannot afford to lose my salary if I were to fail a urine test.

    However, all the way through college and even a few years after graduation, while I was working as a marketing consultant, I smoked marijuana several times a week.

    When people who have had experience with MJ read comments like yours we instantly know a few things about you. You speaking about something that you have no experience with and second of all, the knowledge and perceptions that you hold regarding the subject are influenced by propaganda from a government/corporation that has invested interest in keeping MJ illegal for the sake of profit.

    When pharmaceutical and alcohol corporations, which kill far more people daily than any amount or derivative of the MJ plant ever has, are pumping large sums of money into anti legalization propaganda and "research," you can assume that the majority of the negative stigma associated with MJ is coming from someone who has financial incentive to keep the plant illegal.

    The kid who died after jumping off the balcony in Denver had several other more powerful substances in his system including alcohol. As has been the case with almost every single other instance. I find it suspicious that they are not attributing these incidents to alcohol?

    Bottom line, anybody who has ever used MJ knows the truth. If you are lazy, violent, crazy, nice, funny, ambitious, smart or any other human characteristic, you are still going to be that same person while on marijuana.

    Hold the individual accountable and quit blaming it on the plant.
  14. The Dude Abides
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    The Dude Abides - May 01, 2014 11:31 am
    If marijuana was legal, the problem south of the border would be gone, just like when the bootleggers and speakeasies went out of business once alcohol was legalized. Cannabis prohibition is just another example of a law that creates crime, and cops like that because it creates an artificial need for them. What cop doesn't like a marijuana possession bust? Pot smokers are usually peaceful, compliant, unarmed, young, and not politically connected, so if you're a cop, it makes for an easy day.
  15. Chris Christian
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    Chris Christian - May 01, 2014 11:00 am
    Let's be honest here. It does cause impairment in *some* people when used in sufficient amounts. It can make people sleepy, lethargic and slow their reaction times. It can cause "inattentiveness" in others. BUT the long-term use of MJ makes almost all of these "symptoms" of impairment go away. Experience is the best teacher. Another point to be made is that when stoners are too stoned to drive, they know it and most don't whereas YOU try talking a drunk out of his keys.

    Most people use weed when they Don't have anywhere to go and would rather not. Another positive is that stoners *know* they're stoned and are *extra* cautious when driving. A final point would be that if a stoner has some place he has to be in an hour, he's straight enough to operate a vehicle while the drunk takes 8 hours to be coherent again. There really is no comparison to be made between alcohol and weed but because we have made it criminal to use, we have to go through the process of debunking ALL of the criminality that has been heaped upon it for 50 years. This too will pass :)
  16. Wyoite
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    Wyoite - May 01, 2014 10:59 am
    Marijuana is not a victimless crime and it isn't harmless. We've already learned that thanks to those south of the border. Marijuana impairs judgment, can make some violently aggressive, and kills. That's a fact.
  17. Wyoite
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    Wyoite - May 01, 2014 10:56 am
    Wyo law enforcement is proactive. I appreciate that.
  18. TheOnion
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    TheOnion - May 01, 2014 10:42 am
    You hit the nail on the head there. Puppies are a gateway pet for sure. We need some kind of legislation to make puppies illegal. Once we get puppies off the street I am sure it would eliminate the problem of consenting adults trying to smoke that darn devil's lettuce.
  19. Chris Christian
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    Chris Christian - May 01, 2014 10:29 am
  20. average wyomingite
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    average wyomingite - May 01, 2014 10:24 am
    I disagree. We absolutely need law enforcement. Just not for policing victimless crimes like marijuana possession. The amount of money saved by not prosecuting marijuana cases would be staggering. But, getting high on pot does lead to punching elderly people.
  21. Chris Christian
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    Chris Christian - May 01, 2014 10:24 am
    They'd have to do real police work to solve those crimes, Dude. They are much better at talking big, intimidating and bullying people into being "good citizens" than they are by setting an example. The armed thugs in our society wear uniforms so at least we can try to avoid contact with the unclean element at war with us here.
  22. Chris Christian
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    Chris Christian - May 01, 2014 10:13 am
    “Any time you have a substance like marijuana become more available, there’s going to be increased use," Adriaens said. "With increased use, you have more intoxicated people, and that increases crime.”

    Please! Provide me with proof for this statement and I want to see real numbers tracked for a LONG period of time because every piece of data I can find says that crime, teen use, and DRUNK driving goes DOWN after legalization.

    The cops are desperate to keep their jobs and the plain fact of the matter is that WE don't need THEM!

    Get over it guys and get a real job. Can't wait to see the results of this planned study. Want to see the scientific methodology used in collecting the data and want the data analyzed by a scientific review committee before Wyoming spends one unnecessary dollar on this kind of law enforcement.

    Panic usually drives people to make bad decisions and I hope Wyoming doesn't panic over pot. It's been around for a long long time and just now, the cops are going to try to "profit" from it instead of looking for new jobs out of the Drug War Zone. Cut Costs, Tax it and Legalize it and we'll bot save and earn Wyoming many dollars that the cops want to fritter away on "looking like they're in charge" of us. LOL guess they'll just have to go down swinging.

  23. Cody Coyote
    Report Abuse
    Cody Coyote - May 01, 2014 10:08 am
    The buzzcut hardheaded constabulary have a hidden agenda here. They know if cannabis products are ever legalized, half the fun will go out of their employment. No more busting down the doors of potheads. Cops will have to back to writing traffic tix and chasing down barking dogs.

    All the more reason that legalization of cannabis products cannot come too soon...
  24. average wyomingite
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    average wyomingite - May 01, 2014 10:01 am
    The problem is, once you're addicted killing puppies becomes routine and mundane. They are a gateway pet. I eventually started dissecting squirrels and song birds. But only brightly colored beautiful birds like goldfinches. Also pot made me attracted to my sister.
  25. TheOnion
    Report Abuse
    TheOnion - May 01, 2014 9:30 am
    Three puppies is typical for your first time. The puppy fatality number will fluctuate from time to time but after a few good years of solid marijuana addiction you should plateau at around one or two puppies per joint.
  26. average wyomingite
    Report Abuse
    average wyomingite - May 01, 2014 9:11 am
    I really wish you could get high off smoking sagebrush. They could make that illegal too. Possession of a plant or plant based food is evil. I tried pot once and killed three puppies because I was so high.
  27. Cowboy Joe
    Report Abuse
    Cowboy Joe - May 01, 2014 8:18 am
    Waste of time and money. Why not pursue real criminals that harm others and or their property? Investigate bankers and politicians if you want to really see who's damaging society.
  28. jjolo
    Report Abuse
    jjolo - May 01, 2014 7:59 am
    a typical waste of taxpayers money and a way for law enforcement to justify their jobs go get the real criminals and stop wasting your time on such stupid things
  29. Sassy
    Report Abuse
    Sassy - May 01, 2014 7:26 am

    -- You are right....
  30. Bungus
    Report Abuse
    Bungus - May 01, 2014 7:10 am
    I support this effort and the legalization of marijuana. I have found WASCOP reports very useful in trying to understand the issues it addresses. Without statistics, we rely on hearsay and stereotype.

    I found it interesting that alcohol is involved in over half of all domestic abuse and assault cases, while drug use is involved in less than 7% of such cases.
  31. Sassy
    Report Abuse
    Sassy - May 01, 2014 6:23 am
    This report is nothing more than a colossal waste of taxpayer funds. The same information can be found in any newspaper across the state.
  32. smarts
    Report Abuse
    smarts - May 01, 2014 6:21 am
    Does this sound illegal of some sort , yeah these guys are real winners while major crime goes on the good old wyoming cops will be wasting time chasing stones good job losers
  33. The Dude Abides
    Report Abuse
    The Dude Abides - May 01, 2014 6:06 am
    " the group plans to combat increased marijuana-related crime"
    Lol...as a long-time reader of the blotter, it seems to me that most marijuana crime in Wyoming involves just having it. As far as I can tell, the hard work of marijuana crime busting centers around walking the drug dog through local hotels and profiled traffic stops. I just wish the cops would get as excited about arresting the driver who hit-and-ran my car (and left car parts at the scene), or finding my son's stolen tail-gate, or catching the guy who broke into my neighbor's pickup and stole his spotting scope and work tools...
  34. manfromlaramie
    Report Abuse
    manfromlaramie - April 30, 2014 11:11 pm
    Sounds like a real logical way to spend taxpayer money.
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