Citizens have the power to make change. Everyone can take on part of the responsibility for protecting the health and welfare of the neighborhood and community. Meth is a community problem and the only way that the problem can be resolved is with an active and involved community.
The information and contact that you have with law enforcement can be kept confidential under some circumstances. You can report incidents and ask not to be identified, but law enforcement needs the cooperation of concerned citizens to build viable cases. Signed statements carry far greater weight than anonymous tips.
Knowing what the law allows, and what the authorities can and cannot do, will save you frustration. Citizens should know that law enforcement will handle the information given professionally and properly. It is equally important for citizens to understand that the law does not permit law enforcement authorities to act on information of suspicion alone. If that were the case, meth houses could be shut down immediately but at the sacrifice of our precious liberties and freedoms.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE A POSSIBLE METH HOUSE
Certain activities are common at many meth houses. Generally, one or two of these indicators does not mean you have a meth house in your neighborhood.
Indicators are not always evidence of a meth house. These are circumstances that cumulatively create a reasonable amount of suspicion that warrants further investigation. This PDF document describes some of the indicators you can look for or that can be noted on a log sheet.
If you have accumulated information or logs to report, you can contact your local law enforcement agency. For any incident that is in progress and needs immediate emergency response, call 9-1-1.
Meth houses that have a meth lab are extremely dangerous! Meth labs generate toxic waste and gases, and have a high risk of catching fire or exploding. Direct contact with meth houses should always be avoided. Specially trained and equipped law enforcement officers will handle and process a meth lab when discovered through a search warrant or other lawful means.
You can download and print this log and instructions in PDF format.
Personal safety is your first priority. Many meth addicts, meth dealers and meth cooks commit other crimes. They are sometimes very suspicious, even paranoid. They can be violent or associate with other violent individuals.
Education – Educate yourself so you will know what to look for and what to watch out for. The more you know, the better you can protect yourself and the better witness you will be.
Documentation is the key to building a case against a meth house. Keep good, consistent records.
Accuracy is essential. The information you give to the authorities must be correct and true to the best of your knowledge. Only give information you know to be true. There could be serious consequences to knowingly giving incorrect information. Bolstering a statement or a 9-1-1 call to get a higher priority response may put you in jeopardy. You could be called on to testify to your statements, so they need to be without embellishment or speculation.
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER MAKING A REPORT
Law enforcement will take your information and log sheets but will seldom share any information with you. This may seem like an unfair one-way street, but it is necessary to maintain the integrity and safety of any investigation into a suspected meth house. Sometimes the information provided by a citizen helps an already pending investigation and the information helps law enforcement obtain a search warrant. Other times, the information begins the process of investigation, which may take many months. Sometimes enough information for a search warrant is never obtained. However, in such cases, diligence often eventually pays off.
Calling 9-1-1 in an Emergency
Call 9-1-1 for any crime that is occurring or if anyone is in immediate danger. Remain calm and speak clearly. Give brief, specific answers. Each dispatcher is following protocol, so be patient and give them the information they are requesting. Have addresses written down by the phone, your address, and the suspected meth house address. Give as many details as you can about the person or vehicle you are reporting, including the direction of travel. Stay on the line until the dispatcher ends the call.
What to Expect When You Call 9-1-1
1. The operator will ask you what you are reporting. It is the operator’s primary job to determine the seriousness of your particular situation and what type of help will best meet your needs.
2. The operator will then need to confirm address and telephone number information and determine what agency should be dispatched to respond.
3. Your call may be transferred. The operator will assist you by providing the information to the proper authorities.
4. Depending on your situation, medical or police assistance may be sent.