PLYMOUTH - An area group is hoping to provide tools for Marshall County residents to help law enforcement take a bite out of crime.
The Marshall County Drug Free Committee in conjunction with Plymouth FOP Lodge #195 is producing a “Hot Spot Card” to allow residents to provide tips to the Marshall County Drug Task Force anonymously. Any resident can fill out the card and simply drop it in the mail. Postage is paid and the tips are followed up on by investigators.
“In 2008, a man named David Parnell came to town to speak to students at the schools about his meth addiction and how it had ruined his life,” said Valerie Hite, the local coordinator of the program for the Marshall County Drug Free Committee. “That evening he also spoke to an adult audience and one of the things he mentioned was the concept of the ‘Hot Spot Card’.”
The card has been used in various communities around the country. Hite said that through Parnell she had made contact with officials in Ohio County in Kentucky. The community was experiencing a severe rise in meth related crimes. In the first year of the program police received 147 anonymous tips on the cards and made arrests in 120 of those cases.
“The card is completely anonymous we don’t want to know your name,” said Hite. “But if you suspect that there is drug activity taking place in your neighborhood or you suspect a meth lab is operating that tip is important. That information will be investigated. If there is something to be concerned about we will know it.”
“We get information from a special 800 number (800-899-0842) but the cards are important to us too,” said Plymouth Assistant Police Chief Dave Bacon who heads up the Task Force. “There are always things that people know that we may not be aware of. Any information we can get is useful.”
The Marshall County Drug Task Force is made up of officers from Plymouth and Bremen city police departments and Marshall County Sheriff’s deputies.
The cards are available in area high school offices, the Marshall County Prosecutor’s office, the Marshall County Probation office, and local hospitals, libraries and post offices.
“Our feeling is that if just one of the cards leads to prosecuting a suspected drug dealer than it’s all been worth the effort,” said Hite.