DENVER (CBS4)– Police in Denver have started to enforce a drug activity ban on parks. When someone is caught selling, buying or using drugs along a park or bike path, the person could be suspended from the park for 90 days.
“The officer will respond and will contact that individual and he or she will triage that call as they normally would and very likely that individual could receive a parks suspension notice for up to 90 days,” said Denver Police spokesman John White.
The temporary directive will last for six months and focus on those who are engaged in illegal drug-related activity.
The citation will only apply to the park where it is received. The data enforcers will be operating undercover and will keep track of those who have been banned.
“We’ll be able to know if that individual is in violation by the contact that the officer has with the individual,” said White.
But the American Civil Liberties Union has questioned the legality of such action without due process.
The Department of Parks and Recreation indicates that it is allowed to ban certain activities from its parks.
“Unfortunately there has been a chronic epidemic of heroin use, it’s all over the country, but it’s also here in Denver,” said Denver Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Cynthia Karvaski.
The directive was put in place because the Cherry Creek bike trail has become what police call a hub for drug sales and use, which has tarnished the trail’s reputation and safety.
Police said this is the first step in an effort to improve the experience for residents and visitors. That includes adding more rangers to patrol the trails and parks and also better enforce park rules.
Those who violate their suspension, by either selling, using, possessing or buying drugs, may be charged with a violation and subject to a $999 fine and up to one year in jail.