In Smokey Point, which is a suburb of Arlington in the state of Washington, there could soon be new rules in which will allow Judges to order people who have been charged with or convicted of drug crimes to stay out of certain areas as determined by city ordinances.
The new ordinance goes by the name “Stay Out of Designated Areas”, or “SODA”, and takes effect in Everett, Marysville, and Bothell which have similar regulations in place to keep drug users out of their neighborhoods.
Some of the townships and cities use the ordinance “SODA” which stands for “Stay Out of Drug Areas”, but they essentially have the same effect as the Arlington ruling.
<img src="https://media.8ch.net/file_store/2fc78df5c72f11c1ebc7aac1f336c15f4c5eed0c86d3befd64a1282397fd4537.jpg" style="max-height:640px;max-width:360px;">
<span style="margin-top:15px;rgba(42,51,6,0.7);font-size:12px;">A “heat map” shows the concentration of drug-related crimes in Arlington. The highest concentration is in Smokey Point. (city of Arlington)</span>
The city recently shifted focused onto addressing drug related crime throughout Arlington, spokeswoman Kristin Banfield said. “This is just one tool out of dozens. It takes all of them to address this problem.”
The Arlington City Council unanimously passed the Stay Out of Designated Areas ordinance on Monday. The ordinances often are used to address the repeat offenders under the Controlled Substances Act, according to a publicly released city staff report.
What that means is those charged with either possession of drugs and/or paraphernalia, or manufacturing and/or delivering and trafficking of drugs, including minors, will essentially be banished from walking into specific regions of town.
The “designated area” as outlined in the SODA ordinance is in Smokey Point. It first begins on I-5 from the west to 43rd Avenue on the east, and from 164th Street NE on the south to 175th Street NE on the north.
The new rules are set to take effect officially next Tuesday, and officers are already prepared to make arrests. Some suggest this could be similar to a profiling accusation which will be directed at police, others stand in favor of the measure.
With the new ruling at the personal request of either police or prosecutors, a municipal court Judge can impose a SODA order during a drug-related criminal case as per the sentence, which would be originating in the designated area.
Under the order, the defendant, if convinced, can be prohibited from entering that area for up to two years total time. Judges are permitted to make allowances for government or official services in the boundaries, such as the transit station or state licensing office.
A SODA order could also be issued as a condition of pretrial release or deferral or suspension of a defendant’s sentence, or in cases of probation.
However if a criminal under a SODA order is found to be in the prohibited area, an officer can then arrest him or her immediately. Violating an order is a gross misdemeanor.
“The City of Arlington has seen a steady increase in drug activity, drug-related arrests and drug-related overdoses over the last several years,” Police Chief Jonathan Ventura wrote in a memo to the mayor and City Council. “Drug trafficking occurs in both public and private locations, however some geographic areas have been more affected than others.”
Arlington and Smokey Point specifically suggest that this is due to the number of substance abuse related-incidents increasingly reported to police.
The totals have went from 448 in the city of Arlington in 2012 to 842 in 2016. The city also tracks emergency 911 calls and relies upon the experience of it's officers in ascertaining a judgment of the criminal by recognizing individuals known to have been prior arrested for drug crimes.
Between the months of January and May of this year, there were 318 total incidents involving drug abuse in the city, most in Smokey Point, according to court records.
The areas which are outlined in the SODA ordinance have been identified by the city as “high narcotics trafficking areas” based solely upon that data.
Arlington police also plan to regularly update city leaders on new violations so that the area can be assessed and shifted if necessary, including expanding or shrinking the jurisdictions which SODA orders can be given if needed.
Under the new ruling the city also has launched public campaigns such as “All-In” and “Keep the Change”, which won a grant to research services and needs of addicts, and is looking to hire several social workers who could then in turn work with police in North Snohomish County.
Arlington’s new SODA rules are in line with actions taken by other cities to combat what is often referred to as an opioid epidemic. Everett designated its first SODA in 2007, and now has nine such areas listed.
Marysville also voted to establish a SODA in it's own downtown region in 2012, and recently expanded that ruling to include areas near the Snohomish River. Other cities with similar rules include Bothell, Shoreline, Seattle and Tacoma.