Fake drug display at police expo lures suspect

By Abrad · Apr 27, 2006 · ·
  1. Abrad

    04/24/06 - Posted from the Daily Record newsroom
    Fake drug display at police expo lures suspect

    Blairstown teen nabbed at Rockaway Townsquare


    ROCKAWAY TWP. --The fourth annual Police Expo turned out to be a learning experience for one Blairstown teen --Don't try to steal in front of police officers.

    The 18-year-old man had walked up to the booth staffed by Mendham and Mendham Township police officers on Saturday with a particular interest in the display case holding facsimiles of popular drugs.

    That alone would have been harmless. But he decided that he wanted a closer look and tried to pop open the case, police said.

    He didn't get far, to say the least. Onlookers got a chance to see the police officers standing behind the tables throughout the mall snap into action as they swooped in on the teen.

    "We saw it. We ran over and detained him,"said Mendham Township Police Sgt. William Lunger.

    "There was one mother there with her child who pointed at the guy and said, 'You see? That's what happens when you break the law,'" Lunger said.

    The teen was charged with criminal mischief by Rockaway Township police. The full arrest report, including the name of the teenager, was not available on Sunday night.

    While the rest of the exhibits didn't involve quite as active a display, plenty of shoppers in the Rockaway Townsquare mall stopped at the expo on Saturday and Sunday to get a better look at how police officers and other law enforcement agencies do their jobs.

    The event was started four years ago by the Morris County Park Police and Rockaway Township police in an attempt to give people a better view of the broad range of police work, said Park Police Capt. Gloria Sullivan.

    Thirty-eight law enforcement agencies -- most of them from or located in Morris County -- participated in this year's expo. The park police offer free fingerprinting to visitors, and on average they fingerprint 450 to 500 children at each expo.

    Seven-year-old Austin Hastings of Wharton peppered Officer Brian Ahern and Det. James Rae of the Morris County Sheriff's Department with questions about the array of rifles at the sheriff's booth. But the officers also showed the youth other tools, such as a new night-vision goggle.

    "It clamps on your helmet, and if you're right-handed or left-handed it can click from eye to eye," Rae said. The hand-sized device allows officers to magnify their vision up to four times and to see in the dark.

    Broad duties

    Austin's parents, Ed and Chris Hastings, said that aside from the guns, they and their son also got a better sense of the broad duties that police officers have.

    "He (Austin) plays a lot of games, so he thinks it's just shooting. But you get him out here and see what else they do,"Chris Hastings said.

    Hastings said she was surprised to learn about the state Department of Human Services police. Sgt. Lawrence A. Lynn, said he has heard that a lot.

    As parents brought their children to the division's booth to climb aboard the division's ATV, Lynn and Sgt. Steve Sexton told them that Human Services police have regular police duties, such as traffic enforcement. But they also police psychiatric institutions, such as Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in Parsippany; are involved with Megan's Law enforcement; and are involved in the recoveries of children by the state Division of Youth and Family Services.

    "They didn't know about it,"Lynn said.

    The expo allowed local police to showcase some of the tools and methods they use to do their jobs. They also were able to show off additions to their forces, such as the Hanover Police Department's new motorcycle. The pilot vehicle is leased, and the township police plan to get another two motorcycles this year, said Sgt. Dave White.

    "I think it gives people a sense of what their tax dollars are going towards," White said.

    Hanover's booth also had a display case with drug props inside, such as a bracelet of candy beads that police said drug users often dip in the club drug ecstasy. The case also showed how common prescription drugs or other household substances can be used illegally.

    The display was something that many parents found enlightening and disturbing, White said.

    "They didn't say it, but they had that look on their face of, 'Is that what it's for?'" White said. "They've seen it before."

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  1. FrankenChrist
  2. Pinkavvy
    Oinkers are clueless.
  3. Sitbcknchill

    I bet they did offer free fingerprints.....
  4. Pinkavvy
    Yeah... why would somebody VOLUNTEER their fingerprints to the police? Stupid fucks.
  5. chasingthedragon
    haha thats one of the most stupidest things i have ever herd
  6. Bajeda
    Useless expos??
  7. Nagognog2
    There was an FBI agent in Boston who made black people take off their shoes and socks to "fingerprint" their feet. Told 'em it was "Standard Procedure." These he hung on the wall of his office - telling visitors he collected "Gorrila Prints." He wasn't fired. He was transfered to Utah.
  8. MrG
    Free fingerprinting?

    Ok, so lets get this straight, each Expo they get 450-500 kids dragged along by their parents to have their prints taken so that they can be told "If you *ever* commit a crime, they *will* find out it was you!".

    Jesus, that's scary.
  9. snapper
    SWIM remembers those candy beads. They were really weak and swim never got off on 'em...
    SWIM remembers being entranced by one of those displays as a kid. Of course, on closer examination, it all looked fake. Guy musta been under the influence...
  10. darawk
    I think they usually sell it to parents under the guise of "if your kid gets kidnapped, we can help to find him/her if you get them fingerprinted". Which of course, is bullshit.
  11. Beeker
    I thought you broke the light stick and drank the ecstasy?! :confused:
  12. Nagognog2
    "A child was missing. So we put out an APB to find your child, Mrs. McNit. We only broke the fingers of 12,325,958 kids in grade-schools all across the Nation - but we're happy to report that none of their fingerprints matched your childs!"

  13. UberDouche
    SWIM remembers when the precursor to the DARE campaign was drug education week, or some such thing. The Police Dept. came to SWIM's church youth group and had a display with REAL confiscated drugs of every major category. Also they had an incense that smelled exactly like marijuana. Being young and ignorant, SWIM thought that it was real marijuana but the police did not want to say that as the youngsters might try to take the leftovers home. The youngsters did take the leftovers home and they were most definately not real marijuana incense. Just one big headache and 3 very disappointed youngsters. All that display did was to whet SWIM's appetite for the real thing, and seeing as there was (and still is) a dearth of credible information from the authorities, SWIM nearly accidentally killed SWIMself several times attempting to 'get high'.
  14. grandbaby
    You've expressed one of the key arguments against prohibition right there, UD. The prohibitionist attitude not only doesn't protect our children from "the dangers of drugs," it leads them into more dangerous territory. Gasoline and duster aren't drugs, right?

    "Drugs are bad, mmkay? So go to the drug store and pick up mummy's Prozac prescription and your Adderall prescription. Grab me a pack of smokes while you're there, and pick yourself up a Pepsi and get me a coffee on the way back. Your daddy and I will be having a glass of wine while we're waiting for you to return, toasting the happy fact that we're a drug-free family!"
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