Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson is absolutely right in saying parks are for families and children. Apparently, though, he has forgotten that drug abusers are also someone’s parents and children; often they are users who are making an effort to ensure a more healthy and safe environment.
The needle exchange program ( “Authorities watch effort,” Dec. 22, Page A1) does more than provide clean needles, it provides a means of proper disposal. This type of program not only reduces the spread of HIV, hepatitis C and other blood-borne pathogens, but also reduces the risk of finding needles thrown away on public grounds.
I wouldn’t presume that any local law enforcement agency is capable of any sort of meaningful community policing efforts, but I think the sheriff would benefit greatly from contacting Mary Howe at the San Francisco program. Perhaps he can learn how police can work with such programs effectively, rather than intimidate those the programs are meant to serve.