While there is a substantial body of placed-based evaluations of drug enforcement strategies, little is known about the nature and effectiveness of the routine tactics used by local police to target individual drug offenders. This study used a mixed-method approach to build on existing research on the efficacy of drug enforcement by documenting the nature and consequences of street-level drug enforcement at the local level. First, a focus group of drug enforcement experts was conducted to identify the tactics used to generate arrests and various types of evidence believed to strengthen drug cases. Next, official data in the form of police reports and court records were coded from one year of proactive felony drug arrests in a large, urban police department. The relationship between offender-focused drug enforcement tactics and various court outcomes (e.g., felony prosecution, formal conviction, and incarceration) were examined through logistic regression analyses. Results indicate traffic stops were the most frequently used tactic to generate felony drug arrests. However, buy-walks were more effective than traffic stops at receiving felony prosecutions. In contrast, search warrants were significantly less likely to result in prosecution. Implications for research and policy are discussed.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Community Innovation and Education
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Paul, Nicholas, "An Examination of Street-Level Drug Enforcement Tactics and Court Outcomes" (2022). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1426.