Warren — Residents are being put on notice: Sell drugs in the city and your neighbors can collect $500 for reporting you.
Warren Mayor Jim Fouts and Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer jointly announced a program Wednesday called P.A.I.D. (People Against Illegal Drugs), which rewards residents $500 each for information leading to a search warrant and arrest involving illegal drug sales from a Warren residence.
“This program means all Warren residents will be the eyes and ears in our war against drug pushers,” Fouts said in a statement.
Dwyer said rewards will come from drug forfeiture funds that the police department uses to fight illegal drugs in the city.
“I’ve never heard of another city doing something like this,” he told The Detroit News in a phone interview. “In other words, we’re taking funds from drug dealers to pay residents for information about other drug dealers. Taxpayers are not paying for this.”
Dwyer cited his long history in law enforcement in Detroit, Farmington Hills and Warren, including being in charge of narcotics for seven years while working in Detroit in the mid-1970s. But the heroin problem today, he said, is as bad as it gets.
“We’re not winning the war on drugs,” he said. “There’s an epidemic today as far as heroin overdoses, and this is a new initiative to make neighborhoods safer. We want the 134,000-plus residents to help us fight illegal drug activity.”
Dwyer called it a win-win situation for residents.
“Nobody wants to live next door to an illegal drug house, so if people report it, they’ll get rid of the drug house and they will get a reward,” he said.
Both Fouts and Dwyer emphasized that any tip called in to a special telephone hotline, (586) 574-GUTS, will be confidential.
Fouts said tipsters should provide as much information as possible, including the address of the suspected drug house and a summary of the drug dealers and illegal activity. They also should provide a contact name and number to receive a cash reward that will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Both Fouts and Dwyer described this program as “unique and far-reaching.”
According to a statement, Warren had a dramatic 400 percent increase in heroin overdoses from 2015 to 2016. As of August 2017, the city now equals last year’s record.
Last year, Fouts approved the Warren Police and DEA raids into six Detroit drug houses.