People are dying, the stock market is tanking, and we’re being told to stock up on water and anticipate major disruptions. But, hey, at least the cops in Wisconsin are keeping a sense of humor about this whole pandemic thing!
The Washington Post reports that the Merrill Police Department posted this public service announcement to Facebook on Wednesday.
WARNING: If you have recently purchased Meth, it may be contaminated with the Corona Virus. Please take it to the Merrill Police Department and we will test it for free. If you’re not comfortable going into an office setting, please request any officer and they’ll test your Meth in the privacy of your home. Please spread the word! We are here for you!
Get it? The criminals will bring their drugs into the police station for a virus scan, and then the cops will yell, “Gotcha!” and slap on the cuffs.
Note that the post was updated a day later to “bring this full circle” after the entire public health establishment collectively shouted, “WHAT THE F*CK WERE YOU THINKING?”
“This is a time when people need to be taking public health authorities very seriously,” Prof. Stefano M. Bertozzi of the University of California at Berkeley’s School of Public Health told the Post. “They’re undermining their credibility that will be very much needed if and when an epidemic comes to their community.”
And the cops in Merrill weren’t the only ones squandering their own credibility in a potential health crisis for a few yuks on the outside chance that someone would be dumb enough to believe the police. According to the Post, “Departments in St. Francis County, Ark., Johnson City, Tex., Tavares, Fla., and Decatur County, Kan., have all blasted out the warning, in some cases grabbing straight-faced headlines from local TV news outlets that ran the story like a police news release without a hint of skepticism.”
Back in Merrill, the cops were real sorry you took it wrong, and they hope this “conversation” is a “catalyst for getting people into a better place.”
Just to give you some history, we have actually experienced people report their illegal drugs being stolen, being ripped off in a drug deal, being sold a look-a-like illegal substance, etc. We have even experienced drunk drivers coming to pick up arrested drunk drivers as their “sober responsible party”. So this attempt, although a long shot, still had some possibility behind it. We will take those easy grabs at removing poison from our community whenever we can. That is our role which we un-apologetically must fulfill.
See, there’s absolutely no difference between this and sending people with outstanding warrants invitations to come and collect a plasma TV they “won.” Likewise, no diminution of institutional credibility is too great if it gets even one gram of meth off the streets. They had to do it, or else the terrorists win!
Police are issuing fake warnings of meth tainted with coronavirus. Public health experts say please stop now. [WaPo]
Elizabeth Dye lives in Baltimore where she writes about law and politics.
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