by Caitlin Huston
Local law enforcement agencies are teaming up with the Indiana Department of Child Services to crack down on drug use and the children who grow up around it.
When the Cass County Sheriff’s Department and the Logansport Police Department find children near drug sites, the case is turned over to DCS who does an assessment of the living conditions. Both agencies said drugs are a major factor in crime in the area.
Detective First Sgt. Brad Smith, head of the juvenile division at the Logansport Police Department, said DCS met with the two agencies in the fall and they outlined key problems to work on together. The first was meth use and child neglect, because of the prevalence of drugs, Smith said.
“It’s a problem that continues to grow,” Smith said.
In 2012, Cass County Sheriff Randy Pryor said the Cass County Drug Task Force had 137 total drug cases, which included 24 meth labs and four “marijuana grows.”
He said children have been found around the site of drug activity, exposing them to danger due to the drugs and the chemicals, which have led to explosions.
“There have been cases of meth labs in homes with children,” Pryor said.
If a child is found in a home, Smith said DCS will evaluate the living conditions and may place the child in another home, if needed.
Drug use can often lead to other crimes, Pryor said.
“A lot of our crime involves meth and drugs in general,” Pryor said.
Pryor said the majority of drug cases come up in the summer, when the presence of drugs is more noticeable.
“We discover more things in the warmer weather because people are out and moving,” Pryor said.
Pryor said that tips from the public often lead to the solving of cases.
“That’s how most crimes are solved,” Pryor said.
Tips can include plainly seeing drug use or even seeing a residence with strange vehicles coming and going, Smith said.
Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or firstname.lastname@example.org.