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Published March 26, 2012, 06:56 PM

Fargo Housing Authority to begin drug sweeps on properties

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - In an effort to keep drugs and crime out of Fargo Housing apartment buildings, a drug sniffing dog from the Fargo Police Department will soon be called into action.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

In an effort to keep drugs and crime out of Fargo Housing apartment buildings, a drug sniffing dog from the Fargo Police Department will soon be called into action. The Fargo Housing Authority has sent out letters to hundreds of tenants in the city, telling them about the plan. It is a move to meet federal guidelines that all tenants, many of them vulnerable, are kept safe.

When you talk to those living in Fargo Housing Authority properties, most have no problem with Earl the drug sniffing dog coming in to the high rise and a dozen or more buildings to sweep for drugs.

Kathy Schaeffer – Resident of High Rise: “I think it is a good idea, but I don’t think they tell them ahead of time. I think they should just surprise them.”

In large Fargo housing complexes some tenants are afraid to report drug activity for fear of retaliation. Bringing in a police dog will likely mean that drug users or makers will leave before the sweeps begin, or get caught and arrested.

Sgt. George Vinson – Canine Officer-Fargo Police: “A lot of times we see where the presence of drugs is higher or exists on a more than normal basis, so does the violence and more major crime.”

Over the next several days the Fargo Housing Authority will meet with residents of the various complexes. After that the residents will get a letter one day prior to a drug sweep. After that there will be no warning.

Tamara – Fraud Investigator-Housing Authority: “Remember this is a federal housing subsidized, and there is a zero tolerance for drugs in it. We, as a housing authority, have to uphold the integrity of that program. If we find out there’s drugs or suspect there are drugs in the building, we have to react to that.”

The Housing Authority says the drug sweeps will not be scheduled throughout the year, but those who are on prescription drugs and live in the public housing have nothing to fear during the searches

The Fargo Housing Authority says the drug detecting dog is part of the agency's zero tolerance for drugs in any of its public housing.

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