WINSLOW — The Police Department is offering drug dealers an opportunity that might be hard to pass up — a free and easy way to get rid of their competition.

The department posted a flier on its Facebook page Monday afternoon with an attention-grabbing headline.

In bold red letters, the flier reads, “Attention Drug Dealers” followed by smaller print below.

“Is your competition costing you customers, and MONEY?” the flier states, above a picture of seized illegal drugs, money, scales and a handgun.

“We’re here to help!” it continues, encouraging drug dealers to take advantage of the “free service” by giving the names, address and cellphone number and their competitors and listing where and to whom their rivals sell their product and who their supplier is.

Dealers are asked to contact the “CBTD (Call Before They Do) Unit” of the Winslow Police Department, and the flier gives the department’s Benton Avenue address and office phone number. As of Tuesday morning, 144 people had “liked” the Winslow post and 58 had shared it.

The South Portland Police Department put the same flier on its Facebook page on Monday.

“We got the idea from South Portland,” Winslow Chief Shawn O’Leary said on Tuesday. “We actually share ideas.”

The flier is a close facsimile of one posted by the sheriff’s office of Franklin County, Kentucky, on its Facebook page earlier this month. That flier instantly went viral and attracted national news coverage. Other law enforcement agencies in the U.S. also have used fliers and even newspaper advertisements to entice dealers to provide information about their competitors.

Mostly, the posting is supposed to be a fun, tongue-in-cheek way to liven up the department’s Facebook page and get people talking; but there’s always the possibility it could lead to a criminal case, O’Leary said.

“It’s something humorous, but also serious,” he said. “You might generate some intelligence out of it from good citizens.”

When he took over as chief last year, he wanted to make better use of the department’s Facebook page, O’Leary said. Other departments, such as the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, also have been boosting their presence on the website as a way to gather tips about criminal cases and spread information to the public.


Peter McGuire — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: PeteL_McGuire

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