Drugs Still An Issue In Florence; Suspect Eludes Police; City To Seek Grant For Generator

There is a perception that Florence has a growing drug problem but according to the Florence police department they are not seeing a growing trend that many communities are seeing.  That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a problem, but chief Tom Turner says the largest problem that the Police department deals with on a regular basis has to do with legal drugs.

“By far Florence’s main issue is alcohol.  Our alcohol related issues are by far the biggest issues for police.”

Underage drinking and alcohol related DUI’s are something that the department focuses on, but prescription drugs are also a problem in Florence in fact even greater that illegal drugs.  SGT. Brandon Ott says this is due in part by the culture created around them.

“The thing to remember is that pills they don’t have a stigma attached to them like Heroin.”

He says it is far more acceptable in our culture to put a pill in your mouth than a needle in your arm.  And the accessibility of these drugs is alarming.  Partly, according to Chief Turner, because they are easy to get and not properly stored.  He says if you have them legally you need to protect them.

“So if you have a prescription drug you need to safeguard that, you need to keep it in a locked container.  Or realize that it is something of value.  Treat it like you might treat cash.”

Turner says that some people will sell their prescriptions to pick up quick cash.  They can even be stolen by family members to use or sell.  And while the Florence Police say that there is no hard evidence that the problem is escalating, they are still very aware and vigilant.

Suspect Eludes Police

A strong police presence showed up north of Fred Meyer yesterday afternoon in search for a suspect who police believed stole something from the store.  A search of the area just off of the Sand Ranch Rock Shop property resulted in no arrests as the suspect could not be located.  A female suspect riding a bicycle in a separate incident was taken into custody at that same time near the same location.  Commander John Pitcher with the Florence Police Department said they do know the identity of the suspect.  They do not believe that he is armed and dangerous.

City Council Meeting

When the Florence City Council Meets on Monday they will look at approving a resolution to purchase an emergency generator.  The funds for the generator are expected to come from a grant through Homeland Security.  It would be housed in the public works facility.  They are also considering an upgrade to their current Information technology by purchasing new equipment through an agreement with Dell EMC, Inc.  The City is also considering a proposal to enter into an Intergovernmental agreement with Lane County to provide sanitary sewer services to Harbor Vista Campgrounds.  The meeting will begin at 5:30 on Monday at City Hall.