Santa Ana : Special Squad Would Fight Drugs, Burglaries

Twenty-eight police officers would be assigned to a “Swat Hypes” anti-narcotics squad under a proposed program designed to cut into both drug traffic and burglary rates.

City Manager Robert C. Bobb said police studies show that about 90% of all burglaries in the city are drug-related, with criminals either being under the influence of drugs when committing thefts or stealing property to use to buy drugs. He said the program was developed after the City Council directed the city staff several months ago to look into ways to combat the problem.

The officers would be divided into seven teams and cover all areas of the city. A trailer would be moved to various locations during the program to serve as a command post.

Bobb said the officers would be paid with overtime cash at first but that the city would set aside $250,000 in a contingency fund for use if needed at the end of the year. The proposed starting date for the program is Oct. 1, and council members will consider it at their Sept. 17 meeting.

The police study also indicated that 60% of all burglaries are committed by undocumented aliens, and Bobb said the Immigration and Naturalization Service would be involved in the program. He said the city is still opposed to INS sweeps for undocumented aliens but will encourage deportation of those involved in narcotics traffic.