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Drugs gathered, papers shredded, at Southeast Precinct

DAVID F. ASHTON - ONI Crime Prevention Specialist Jenni Pullen, spends a moment with PPB Neighborhood Response Team Officer Rob Brown, and Detective Division Cheryl Waddell.Although the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) program funding local “drug turn-ins” has ended, the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) and City of Portland Office of Neighborhood (ONI) Involvement Crime Prevention saw value in the program, and have kept it going.

“Today, we’ve made this a ‘one stop’ drop-off site for both over-the-counter and for unused prescription drugs, as well as for people to shred documents.” commented PPB Detective Division Cheryl Waddell, who works with the White Collar Crime detail. She was standing in front of the recently-reactivated Southeast Precinct building at 48th and East Burnside.

An industrial paper shredder ground and shuddered in the background, while officers and police cadets collected and boxed drugs in the drive-through parking lot of Southeast Precinct on September 26.

“At the same time, the PPB Sunshine Division is here, accepting donations of food and clean clothing,” Waddell added.

Because of her work, Waddell said she’s seen first-hand what happens when documents are simply thrown out, instead of being shredded first. “Even if the [bank] accounts are closed or the paperwork is outdated, the information contained in documents can be a goldmine for criminals who steal identities and open new accounts.

“Any kind of document that has an account number, date of birth, or social security number, should be shredded to make sure that your identity is secure.”

And, the drug turn-in is valuable, too, Waddell remarked, “to help keep these substances out of the hands of teenagers who may be experimenting with prescription drugs. And if someone just throws their expired or unused drugs in the trash, ‘dumpster divers’ may find them, and use them in the illicit drug trade.

“It’s also a bad idea to flush them down the toilet, which gets them into our landfills and our watersheds,” Waddell reflected. “Disposed of as we are doing today, they are incinerated, and are safe from any misuse or potential pollution.”

The combined drug turn-in and document shredding gatherings are a change-of-pace for officers, Waddell said. “Instead of contacting people while solving crimes, this is an opportunity for us to meet with the community in a friendly and positive way.”

This year, the drug turn-in collected more than double the amount it did in 2014. “This year, 17 boxes, each weighing 45 pounds, were sealed and taken off for incineration at the end of the four-hour event,” reported ONI’s Jenni Pullen.

Community members also showed their generosity by filling to overflowing the donation barrels at the site with food and clothing for the Sunshine Division.

By the way, you don’t need to wait until another such event comes around; three PPB Precinct Offices have always secure collection boxes in their lobbies. Learn more online: www.portlandoregon.gov/police/article/379618