Lodi area citizens and visitors were left to wonder on Friday May 4th why an estimated thirty-five marked and unmarked law enforcement vehicles were observed cruising and lurking throughout the day and evening. At both the Lodi Valley Farmers Market and the first downtown Art Walk of the season, business owners,customers and guests from as far away as Tehran, Iran were left to speculate through the weekend on why the massive police show of force occurred. No one knew until Monday morning May 7th when an interview posted on www.lodienews.com revealed that Columbia County Sheriff’s office stated the “Drug Sweep” was a federally funded “Proactive Effort” to make a law enforcement presence known.
Comments made at the farmers market, art walk and written on social media over the weekend ranged from, “Is this the new police state?, Prom weekend feels much safer now, Wow, what the hell did that just cost, I didn’t serve twenty-five years in the military to come home to this crap, We do have a major drug problem here in Lodi and this will certainly help, I thought we’re spending $36,000 to attract people to visit our wonderful community, not to watch squads on parade hassling people for having dingle balls hanging from their rear view mirrors”
According to the Lodienews posting, a total of just eight arrests were made for minor drug possession, drug paraphernalia, probation and traffic violations. The short-lived effort to sweep crime and the drug problem from the area was primarily funded by the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program .