Police: Report drug needles before posting pics on Facebook


JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — Officials in Hillsdale are concerned.


Not only that people are finding needles thrown out by drug addicts, but also that they’re posting pictures on social media instead of reporting them to police.


6 News was in Hillsdale Thursday taking a look at this problem.


As Carol Shoffner walks with her son down the Baw Beese Trail, she’s aware something sinister could be lurking nearby.


“It’s everywhere. One of my friends started walking to my house yesterday and actually saw a couple,” Shoffner said.


Needles, most-likely discarded by drug users, have been discovered all over the city of Hillsdale in recent weeks.


Hillsdale Police Chief Scott Hephner says drug needles left around town have been a problem for a while, but reactions to them are changing.


“The increase is the public actually taking pictures when they see these along walkways, trails, and posting them to social media,” Hephner said.


Facebook posts recently identified needles that were found near Geir Elementary School and the Baw Beese Trail, a popular walking and biking trail.  


Chief Hephner says he understands people want to warn neighbors, but you should keep your distance.


“Nobody knows what’s inside these syringes, so if you go to touch it to pick it up, if there’s residue on the outside of these hazardous materials, it absorbs through the skin, and we could have a major incident,” Hephner said.


Police say if you’re out in the community and find a needle, stop what you’re doing and call 911.


“Report it. Give them a good location. We’ll try to find it. Make sure you give a return phone number so if we can’t, we can talk to you and get the first-hand information,” Hephner said.


The chief says police are trained to clean up this mess and make the area safe.


Officers are now patrolling these areas looking for drug-users who are taking advantage of the public spaces and leaving needles.


Shoffner is worried about kids finding the needles, so she hopes more people report them.


“Just looking out for them will make it so much better,” Shoffner said.

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