The Hartford Courant takes readers to a section of West Hartford, where it says “a subculture of drug buyers, users and sellers cross in and out of town every day, busy as bees. Some live in town. Others might linger, then hop on I-84 or Route 9, heading back to towns further east or west.” The papers says most people don’t know the drug marketers exist because they blend into the exurban landscape like lamp posts and gasoline signs. This is the unseen West Hartford, and the police department’s street crime unit are the probes.
On a recent day, Sgt. Jeremy Clark watches a suspect Nissan as it pulls into traffic. An air freshener hangs from the rear-view mirror. That’s an infraction because it can obstruct a driver’s view – and it’s a reason to stop the car. Clark pulls in behind and hit the lights and siren. The Nissan’s driver flicks cigarette ash, his head moving from side to side. His face, framed by the side mirror, is a wretched portrait of resignation and misery. He pulls onto the shoulder of the ramp and stops. In minutes, the driver is in handcuffs and on his way to headquarters to be booked on narcotics possession charges.