Saturday, December 21, 2013

About Those Helicopters

Hudsonians woke up on Friday morning to the sound of helicopters overhead. It was soon learned through social media that a major drug raid was underway. It was the middle of the afternoon before the details were disclosed in a press conference at the Hudson Central Fire Station.

The early morning raid was the culmination of a narcotics investigation that began in March. At the press conference, Ed Moore explained that just days after he was sworn in as the new chief of the Hudson Police Department, he sought state police assistance in addressing the city's drug problem. "People I have talked with," he said, "have less and less tolerance for the sale of drugs," which he called the catalyst for muggings, burglaries, and thefts in Hudson. He spoke of the raid as sending a message: "If you set up a drug business in this city, you will be at risk."

The operation was carried out with the New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET), with assistance from the Columbia County Sheriff's Department and the Catskill Police. Moore stressed that every Hudson police officer was involved in some way in surveillance and intelligence gathering and all had volunteered for duty on Friday. He mentioned in particular the key role played by narcotics detective Jason Finn.

Moore reported that of the twenty people targeted in the raid, nineteen had been arrested and the twentieth was part of an active investigation. The drugs involved were heroin and crack cocaine. The mugshots of eighteen of those arrested can be viewed here. Four were arrested at four different locations in Greenport, one was arrested in Catskill, and the remainder were arrested in several different locations in Hudson. News Channel 13's coverage of the story can be viewed here. The Register-Star video of the press conference can be viewed here.

Alderman-elect Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward) came to the press conference to complain about the use of helicopters. She said the sound of helicopters overhead frightened children and made Hudson seem like Afghanistan. She questioned the need for helicopters, saying they had not been used in drug raids in the past. It was explained that it is CNET procedure to use helicopters to provide emergency and visual support for officers on the ground.

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