Drug and Vice Enforcement

About the Drug and Vice Enforcement Unit

The Drug and Vice Enforcement Unit (DAVE) engages in covert and overt operations in an effort to combat dangerous drugs, prescription drug abuse, and related activity in the Paducah area.  DAVE is primarily responsible for the seizure of narcotics and the forfeiture of assets belonging to drug traffickers. 

The drug problem in our country is complex, and not easily managed by the work of front-line patrol officers who have to respond to other calls for service.  As a department, we attempt to address all levels of the drug trade, from street-level dealing that causes neighborhood issues, to those dealers that have established connections outside of our community. As such, the DAVE Unit manages everything from Crime Stoppers tips to our continued taskforce partnership with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives.

The DAVE Unit actively participates in the McCracken County Drug Court, which aims at giving drug offenders a second chance. The unit participates in education around the community, partnering with health professionals to teach people the dangers of opioid abuse.

In 2019, the Drug and Vice Enforcement unit worked more than 154 cases which resulted in charging 185 individuals.  In 2018, the DAVE Unit opened 125 drug investigations and had a clearance rate of 94 percent.  In 2017, DAVE opened 242 investigations with a clearance rate of 89 percent.  Like most other jurisdictions, the largest number of drug offenses are related to marijuana arrests.  In 2019, more than 510 pounds of unwanted medications were collected and destroyed to prevent diversion, misuse, and abuse.  

In addition to the illicit drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamines, and marijuana, the DAVE unit focuses on investigating the abuse of prescription painkillers.  The Kentucky Attorney General's Office reports more than 1000 people die in Kentucky each year from prescription drug overdose.  The database known as Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting System (KASPER) is an important resource in identifying potential prescription drug abusers.  The DAVE unit also has developed and implemented a "pharmacy alert system" to share information between local druggists.

The DAVE unit also spends time educating patrol officers what to look for on the streets.  The DAVE detectives have specialized training in drug detection and investigation, and they share that knowledge with patrol officers during training blocks.  The topics covered include search and seizure, drug interdiction and detection, and interview and interrogation techniques. 

Prescription Drug Drop BoxTo educate the public to reduce drug abuse, the Paducah Police Department partners with the Paducah Public Schools in providing two programs:  Gang Resistance Education and Training (GREAT) and Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE)

Prescription Drug Drop Box

The Paducah Police Department partners with the Kentucky Crime Prevention Coalition and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to provide a year-round drop box where people can drop off expired or no longer needed medications at the Police Department headquarters located at 1400 Broadway.  The box is located in the lobby and accessible during normal business hours.  Citizens need only to bring their medications to the lobby of the department and drop them into the designated box.  No information is requested, and the police department will properly destroy the medication to ensure that it does not enter the water system or fall in the hands of drug dealers or our children.  Additional Drug Drop Box Information >>


Capt. Matt Smith