DENVER (CBS4) – Drug use and sales along the Cherry Creek Greenway are targets in the latest effort by Denver police and Denver Parks and Recreation to address illegal drug activity along the popular recreation area.
Those who use the trail say they have seen it all.
“I worry about stepping off the trail and stepping on a needle,” said jogger Duane Bird Bear Jr.
Another man using the Bike path to get work had similar concerns.
“There’s a lot of riff-raff through here, I’ve seen drug dealers selling drugs,” the man said.
A temporary directive will last for six months and focus on those who are engaged in illegal drug-related activity. If caught, Denver police can now suspend their use of that park or trail for 90 days.
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.
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.
Cyndi Karvaski with Denver Parks and Recreation says a large focus will be put on treatment as well.
“When they (police) come out they have co-responders with them. Those people are educated and have the background and the recourses to give to people to help them with their addiction,” Karvaski said.
While many in the community agree the city has good intentions, the concern for most is how it will get done.
“I think its proactive, maybe, but it would be kind of hard to enforce, I think,” another path user said.
Parks officials have hired a contractor to help with cleaning areas along Cherry Creek including the removal of needles.
The bike path has held an uneasy relationship between bicyclists, joggers and those strung out on heroin.