Drug House Ordinance Amendment Postponed

By Maureen Mespell
By Rachel Martin

May 22, 2012 Updated May 22, 2012 at 10:14 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) -- The amendment to the Drug House Ordinance will have to wait. Fort Wayne City Council planned to pass the amendment Tuesday night, but decided to postpone it.

City Council decided to postpone approving the amendment for two weeks. Council members say they want to give the community a chance to weigh-in, comment, and give feedback on how the amendment could be improved, if need be. The amendment to the Drug House Ordinance would restrict commercial and industrial properties from selling synthetic drugs, "under the counter."

“This is an important piece of legislation and it will change the way we do business as far as enforcing the law and looking for drug violations, and I want to make sure we do this properly,” said Councilman Geoff Paddock (D—5th District).

Council partnered with the Fort Wayne Police Department’s Vice and Narcotics Division to create the amendment, after constituents complained of drug dealings at businesses in their neighborhoods. The amendment targets convenience stores, in particular, that are selling K-2, Spice and bath salts.

“We do see activity out in the community,” he said. “The police and Vice and Narcotics people have been getting a lot of tips by email, by telephone, by visits. It’s important we enact this legislation so we can work on this problem,” Paddock said.

FWPD and council both agree this will protect the community. Paddock says this amendment is another “tool in the toolbox” on the fight against synthetic drugs.

“We want to make sure that we keep drugs out of the hands of our young people,” he said. “We want to make sure that we put this tool in the toolbox, that we put some teeth into our law that gives law enforcement in this community the opportunity to go after synthetic drugs and other things they might find.”

Currently there is no law that allows police to conduct drug searches in businesses, but Paddock hopes that will soon change.

“No one has any fear here unless they're selling illegal drugs or synthetic marijuana to the general public, particularly our young people. If those folks are doing that, we're going to enact a law and they're going to jail,” he said.

Paddock says council plans to vote and pass the amendment June 5. In the meantime, council is inviting the community to share opinions and ideas about the current amendment at the meeting or by contacting City Clerk, Sandra Kennedy. Paddock says when passed and signed into legislation by the Mayor, the amendment will take effect immediately.

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