For four consecutive days this week, people in Anchorage woke up to news of a local shooting resulting in death or injury. At a press conference Thursday, police chief Mark Mew said the jump in violence appears to be drug-related and announced the department is creating a temporary task force in an effort to suppress those crimes.
"Of the four homicides, all of them are connected to marijuana, as well as other drugs," Mew said. "Something's going on in the drug world right now."
The task force will consist of 10 to 15 officers pulled from three special units. The officers will be reassigned "for a week or two," he said, "shaking down everything that moves on the street" and "serving warrants like crazy."
Mew also said the police department has contacted federal law enforcement in the hope of conducting a combined crack down. It would be similar to the FBI's Safe Streets Violent Crime Initiative in 2007, when groups of field officers focused on gang violence and violent crimes.
Some of the shootings appear to involve gangs, Mew said.