City Council to Honor Narcotics Bureau for Record-Breaking Year

PROVIDENCE, R.I.-On Thursday, April 7th, the Providence City Council will honor the
Providence Police Department’s Narcotics Bureau for a record-breaking year in which
the unit executed an unprecedented number of search warrants and seized firearms
from some of the city’s most dangerous offenders.

This year, the Narcotics Bureau executed 180 search warrants and seized 68 illegal
firearms-totals that break the Bureau’s former record and underscore the unit’s
proficiency. «We are fortunate to have Captain Anthony Sauro and his team here in
Providence, making our city a safer place to live,» said Councilman Michael Correia
(Ward 6), who sponsored the Council’s effort to honor the officers’ achievements.
«These officers are getting pimps and heroin dealers off our streets and
confiscating assault weapons from some of the most violent criminals in the city.»

Although the unit is smaller than it was ten years ago, Captain Sauro, the Bureau’s
commanding officer, has seen his unit make great gains in recent years. This year,
each of the Bureau’s 20 narcotics officers received over 60 hours of training to
learn best practices and execute search warrants more effectively and safely. «We
aren’t a SWAT team,» said Sauro, «but those are the kinds of skills our officers
need in this job. It’s dangerous work.»

Sauro is an advocate for strong community-police relations, and many of his unit’s
investigations originate from community groups and concerned neighbors. Those
successful collaborations, says Councilman Correia, deserve recognition. «The
Narcotics Bureau deals with some of the worst issues that affect the quality of life
in our neighborhoods,» Correia said. «These officers are in the neighborhoods. They
understand the problems and they handle them with true professionalism.»

The Bureau also works to combat human trafficking, reduce street prostitution, and
connect sex workers to social services. In 2014, the City of Providence passed a
Bodyworks Ordinance-legislation that has recently been modeled in other cities-to
combat an onslaught of illegal activities occurring in massage parlors. In 2015, the
Narcotics Bureau successfully shut down 15 illegal spas throughout the city-some of
which averaged nearly 200 customers per day. Sex workers in at least two of the spas
were required to work upwards of 16 hours per day, 7 days per week. Many of the
workers were trafficked across state lines.

Sauro credits the Bureau’s record-breaking year to both the strong team dynamic
within the unit and the new training the officers received. «The Narcotics Bureau’s
accomplishments this year in terms of quantity and quality are truly astounding,»
said Sauro. «In 2015, the Bureau demonstrated what a highly motivated, honest,
talented, and hard-working unit with high morale can accomplish. I am confident that
our success will continue into the future.»