Gang members, drugs and guns taken off the streets are part of the San Antonio Police Department’s efforts to combat violence on the east side.
It's called the Eastside Initiative, and it’s a joint effort by the San Antonio Police Department and several federal agencies to quell the violence that left dozens dead earlier this year. So far, it's led to 3,197 arrests.
“We went after the drug markets,” SAPD Chief William McManus said. “We went after the people who were wanted on warrants.”
In all, 140 pounds of drugs have been taken off the streets.
“We've made so many arrests,” Chief McManus continued. “We've seized many, many weapons, we've seized tens and tens of thousands of dollars-worth of drugs.”
Officers continue to work the east side for the drug operations but the department says that they're not just out here arresting people. Foot patrols are still happening in targeted areas of the east side.
“We really wanted to use [foot patrols] more as an engagement effort so that our officers can get out of their vehicles and approach people on foot, talk to the neighbors and really get to hear their concerns,” SAPD spokesman Sgt. Jesse Salame said. “You can put people in jail, but they can get back out. You can confiscate a lot of drugs, but there's always going to be another drug dealer waiting, and so we need the community to assist us.”
The need for a police and community partnership is why Sgt. Salame says that Chief McManus told a crowd of citizens that “you can’t arrest the problem away.”
Police didn't want to give a timetable for when this enforcement might end, only saying that they’ll keep at it as long as it's necessary.