ST. ALBANS — The St. Albans Police Dept. (SAPD) is hoping to take a new approach to addressing the scourge of addiction in the community and the crime it creates.

SAPD Chief Gary Taylor has asked St. Albans City and Town to fund the creation of a street crimes unit which Taylor says will be able to focus on locations in both communities where drug deals are taking place.

Currently, the SAPD has three patrol officers on per shift. Those officers keep an eye on known drug locations in between their other responsibilities, Taylor told the city council’s finance committee on Wednesday. “I don’t have any extra staff to just watch a drug house,” he said.

There are more than sixty known locations in the city and town where drug deals occur, said Taylor. Among them is the park and ride at the intersection of Routes 36 and 104, where a drug deal gone wrong last year led to the disgruntled son of the buyer shooting the dealer in the parking lot of Holy Angels and a subsequent pursuit that ended in Swanton.

Drug traffic has increased at the park and ride since it was the subject of a National Geographic video, said Taylor. Drivers pull up next to each other an exchange drugs for cash. “It takes about three minutes to do a deal and they’re pretty good at it,” he said.

For more on the proposed unit, pick up a copy of the weekend Messenger or subscribe to our digital edition.