Police, United Way tout success of cameras in helping to stop overdoses, drug transactions

In 2022 alone, 42,000 lethal doses of Fentanyl were seized, according to the Executive Director...
In 2022 alone, 42,000 lethal doses of Fentanyl were seized, according to the Executive Director of the Rowan United Way.(WBTV File)
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 3:20 PM EDT
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SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) - Local leaders say a program developed three years ago to help curb substance abuse in Salisbury has been working well.

In 2020, the Rowan County United Way made a donation to the Salisbury Police Department of $96,000 towards the purchase of 10 cameras in Salisbury areas the city described as “most affected by drug overdoses and drug sales.”

The camera purchases also coincided with the debut of the Rowan Regional Crime Intelligence Center that is housed in the PD headquarters.

Additional technologies in the Regional Crime Intelligence Center were made possible by a $500,000 federal grant.

The Regional Crime Intelligence Center includes a set of video boards receiving live images from 65 cameras placed across the city.

The Rowan County United Way Grantee Memorandum of Agreement stated at the time that the RCUW “focuses on creating measurable opportunities for our community to succeed and thrive, with an emphasis on addressing the areas of greatest need and with a focus on improving their lives… we will direct all of our resources to the following impact areas: Mental Health, Substance Abuse, Healthy Lifestyles Behaviors and Basic Needs.”

”We are very grateful to the Rowan County United Way and the 2019-2020 campaign supporters who gave so generously so that we can combat substance abuse and related crimes in our community,” said then Police Chief Jerry Stokes. “The grant makes it possible for us to view hot spot areas of crime in real time. Our goal is always to make Salisbury a safe place for our residents. With the implementation of the Regional Crime Intelligence Center and the new cameras, we are well on our way to making Salisbury safer and see a reduction in the toll overdose has on the community.”

Three years later, United Way Executive Director Jenny Lee says the program has been a success.

“In an effort to increase safety and lower death and drug rates in our community, we have teamed up with the Salisbury Police Department to provide strategically placed cameras in high overdose areas,” Lee told WBTV. “Since our partnership began in 2020, we have been able to combat and deter crime such as narcotic violations. In 2022 alone, 42,000 lethal doses of Fentanyl were seized. We are very proud of the work we are accomplishing together!”