San Jose, Ca., Mayor Matt Mahan is touting the city’s “zero tolerance policy” for public drug crimes, the Bay Area News Group reports. He said anyone who comes to the city to sell drugs will be arrested and that officials will do their best to get those who use drugs on the street into treatment. Mahan’s held an impromptu press conference in response to an NBC Bay Area report showing open-air drug use at a convenience store. Given prosecutorial guidelines and resource-strained departments at both the city and county levels, how the mayor's requested crackdown would make a meaningful impact remains unclear. When it comes to enforcement, the mayor’s power is limited to recommending priorities to San Jose’s police, while the county’s district attorney decides whether to file criminal charges. The mayor is advocating for county and state-level efforts that could make treatment more accessible.
The San Jose Police Department is encouraging residents to contact authorities through its non-emergency number if they witness public drug crimes. A police spokesperson said its department will be focusing officer resources on enforcing drug laws against the sale of methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl and other illegal drugs. “Proactive response means having specialized units conduct targeted enforcement,” police spokesperson Steve Aponte said. Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said the response to “longstanding drug, mentally ill, and homeless problems” needs revamping.