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Swanton cops use social media to target drug dealers - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Swanton cops use social media to target drug dealers

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SWANTON, Vt. -

The Swanton Village Police Department says it has a reputation for pushing the envelope when it comes to creative crime-fighting techniques. Just check Facebook; their latest post has more shares than ever.

We printed out the Facebook post. We're sharing it the old-fashioned way and it's got some people chuckling.

"OK, for real?" asked Lisa Humphrey of Swanton.

"I absolutely would turn in a drug dealer," said Connie Farrington of Swanton.

But law abiding citizens like Farrington are not who police in Swanton are targeting.

"Attention drug dealers. Is your drug dealing competition costing you money? We offer a free service to help you eliminate your drug competition," Swanton Police Ofc. Andrew Underwood read from the post.

Definitely not your typical police post. Underwood says that's the point. He heads up all Swanton's drug operations.

"At Swanton we kind of have fun with our job. Some people don't like it. Some people think it's great. If it catches your eye, it's doing what it's supposed to do," Underwood said.

The post has more than 100 shares so far. That's beat out anything else the cops have posted.

"I mean whatever gets it off the street," said Dilon Dupont of Swanton.

Underwood grew up in this town. He's watched pain pills and opiates like heroin erode his community, with more overdoses, ambulance calls, violence, robberies and petty theft, all because addicts are chasing the high.

"Something they can make a quick $50-$100 and that's all they're looking for, something for their next fix for the day," Underwood said.

Now this police department wants criminals to know it will eliminate their rivals for free. All the drug dealers have to do is snitch on their competition by anonymously providing police with names, numbers and peak drug dealing hours. The cops will take care of the rest.

Reporter Jennifer Costa: What's your initial reaction?

Lisa Humphrey: There's always rats.

"If you can get somebody to tell on somebody else and stop it, yeah, why not?" Dupont said.

Underwood says in Swanton it's homegrown dealers pushing the drugs, not out-of-staters.

Jennifer Costa: Do you think drug dealers are seeing this?

Ofc. Andrew Underwood: Oh, yes. Absolutely.

That's why he believes this tactic will work.

"It's about time they get rid of that stuff," said Shirley Barratt of Swanton. "There's too much of it here in Swanton for such a little town."

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