CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Various neighborhood walks conducted by the Clay County Sheriff's Office have led to drug raids in recent months.
On Tuesday afternoon, while most law enforcement officers were on patrol, a handful of uniformed Clay County sheriff's deputies conducted a neighborhood walk through the Glen Haven subdivision in Lake Asbury, where deputies got to meet many of the neighbors.
“It’s the first time I heard of it. I was surprised when I saw it, our address, on Facebook this morning," neighbor Ashley Orozco said. " I think it’s pretty cool. The kids were excited to come out and see. I think it’s nice they want to be seen in the community.”
As deputies went from door to door in the subdivision, they also asked neighbors if there was anything in their community that needs law enforcement attention.
Sheriff's Office Assistant Chief K.A. Smith said the walks through various Clay County communities have led to a larger crackdown on narcotics.
"We were receiving a direct impact on getting information on drug houses, drug dwellings, some narcotics investigations that we could pass along to our narcotics and street crimes unit," Smith said.
From early August to late September, deputies have made at least 10 drug busts that were the result of information they received during community walks. In each case, a SWAT team was used to make entry into a home suspected of being a drug house. In some of those cases, suspects are facing additional charges of child neglect because they were accused of allowing their children to be around narcotics. Each time a home was raided, the Sheriff’s Office left a sign reading, “You had options,” on the property.
"Sheriff (Darryl) Daniels has a strong zero tolerance for drugs and narcotics," Smith said.
The walks have been so successful when it comes to cracking down on narcotics that deputies said they are now getting repeat calls from people they met in person.
Smith said the callers have said something along the lines of, "'Hey, Chief Smith. This is what's going on again. We're starting to see an influx in this or that.'"
That information is then handed over to narcotic deputies who investigate the claims and then get warrants to conduct more raids.
The walks have become so valuable that the Sheriff’s Office shifted from doing them monthly to almost weekly. The Sheriff's Office randomly picks different communities.