Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Start Snitching

To paraphrase School Committee member Ed Symbol, Westbrook's current police chief has a hard-on for drugs.

When I returned home from work this afternoon, I was greeted by not one, but two, flyers stuffed in the doors of my Rochester Street home. The blue sheets, which are informal (and partially ungrammatical) in tone, feature Chief Bill Baker's blunt plea for Paper Citizens' help in Westbrook's own war on drugs.

Remniscent of a leaflet that the United States military may have airdropped over, say, Afghanistan, the flyer opens with this appeal to residents' emotions and reason: "If you know a family member, a friend, or a neighbor who is involved in drugs--think about this--it is better to have them arrested then (sic) to have them DEAD!"

The strongest and most important part of the flyer, though, is its attempt to counter the pernicious cultural taboo against snitching: "Some people think of a rat is (sic) a 'despicable person, especially one who betrays or informs on associates.' We think of a rat is (sic) someone who lets a friend or loved one die with a needle in their arm. We think a rat is someone that stands by and lets drugs poison their community. We think a rat is someone that lets another generation of children grow up addicted and hopeless! Take a stand. Do something about drugs in Westbrook."

Considering news of a drug-related arrest or overdose in Westbrook seems to appear more often than positive news from the Paper City--not to mention that the flyer rightly identifies drugs as a poison for individuals, families, and the city--any Constitutional and lawful means of combating the sale and consumption of narcotics is welcomed by this writer (though the flyer's hint that it may be willing to pay for information, or for purchasing drugs on the department's behalf to lead to the arrest and conviction of a local dealer may prove the most controversial).

So if you are aware of any drug-related activity in Westbrook, call the police department's tip line at 591-8117, email the department at, or text a tip to 239-7408. And if you or anyone you know wants professional help, check out these organizations: CAP Quality Care, Catholic Charities Support and Recovery, Chemical Dependency Consultants, Day One, Mercy Recovery Center, and the Milestone Foundation.

- John C.L. Morgan


Anonymous said...

'...may be willing to pay for information, or for purchasing drugs on the department's behalf..."

where's that money coming from in the tight budget?

while i think this is more of a stunt to give a false sense of doing least the cops are hitting the pavement in so called troubled neighborhoods... which does save us money on gas in the budget and create more of a community style police.

Anonymous said...

My question is, why are they just targeting these streets. I think Westbrook's drug problem is more than just those streets, since Declaration Dr, Deer Hill, and Saco St have all harbored drug distribution centers. The drug dealers caught on Brown St were from gorham and other cities, while the three streets I mentioned were distribution sites. I guess its more politically correct to go to the poorer sections of the community. :(