Candidate Cockayne takes stand on drug free zone changes

City Councilman Ken Cockayne, the Republican nominee for mayor of Bristol, issued a statement on the eve of Bristol schools opening tomorrow regarding the recent proposal in the General Assembly regarding the issue of drug free zones.

Currently, Cockayne explained in the press release, state statute dictates a 1,500 foot radius around our schools as drug free zone. Anyone caught selling or using drugs within these zones are given harsher penalties, the release explained. Near the end of the last legislative session, the release from the candidate said the Democrat majority amended a bill that would have reduced this radius from 1,500 feet to 300 feet. The bill ultimately failed.

“This bill would have thwarted our local police department in their efforts to arrest many drug dealers in town,” Cockayne said in the release.“This bill is just bad public policy.”

The Republican nominee stated in his release that as the next mayor he would “lend his voice to the growing opposition to this proposal and work diligently within the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities to see that this proposal doesn’t become law.”

“Our children deserve the comfort of having the best protection from drug dealers peddling their goods within the 1,500 radius of a school and parents deserve the same comfort level,” Cockayne added, “I, for one, would like to see the 1,500 radius increased rather than decreased.”

“Our city along with many other urban areas in our state are seeing a spike in drug related crimes and as we all know this can lead to increased crime rates and blight within our community,” said Cockayne in the release. “As mayor, I have vowed to take a strong stance on blight and graffiti, and bills such as this one from the legislature do nothing to help local officials.”

Cockayne, in his campaign released, called “for unified opposition amongst all elected officials regarding this proposal should it surface again. (The release noted, Democrat Chris Wright supported the bill before it ultimately failed.)

“I am asking all elected officials and candidates, regardless of their party affiliations, to join me in opposition to this proposal,” said Cockayne in his prepared statement. “Surely this is an issue that all of us in Bristol can agree on.”