Pubdate: Thu, 31 Aug 2006
Source: Morris Daily Herald (IL)
Copyright: 2006 Morris Daily Herald
Author: Jo Ann Hustis
Bookmark: (Drug Test)
Bookmark: (Heroin)
Bookmark: heroin


WILMINGTON - Local police chief, Lt. Wally Evans, believes the 
community should face head-on its serious problem with illicit drugs.

"You can either lay it out and attack it, or hide your head in the 
sand and let it build," he said Wednesday. "It's in every step of 
society. So, if a community is going to say it doesn't have a problem 
it does have a problem."

The drive to do something about the growing problem of illicit drugs 
in the community, including crack cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl-laced 
heroin, began when Deputy Chief Michael Boyle came out of management 
to work the streets again, and found a drug problem existed in the 
school system.

"Several people approached us about the problem," Evans noted. "We 
said we were not going to hide it. We were not going to bury our 
heads in the sand. We held an open forum on Aug. 22, and Deputy Boyle 
brought an addict he'd arrested and who had done some prison time.

"He and we talked about 90 minutes during the forum. It really opened 
some eyes in the community."

Another eye-opener is in the planning stage for mid-September.

In the meantime, Mar Theater co-owners Denise Issert, Rick Smith and 
Mark Shell are committing their business as a drug-free workplace, 
and are urging other business people to follow suit.

Transparencies are being prepared for placement in the windows of 
participating businesses. The transparencies state:

"We at the (name of business) are committed to a drug-free workplace. 
Any employee of the (business) will participate in random drug 
screening. The (business) is partnering with the Wilmington Police 
Department to promote a drug-free environment for your children."

Additionally, every Mar Theatre employee found a notice to that 
effect in their pay envelopes last week. The notice read:

"We, the owners of the Mar Theatre, are committed to maintaining a 
drug-free workplace. To insure this, all existing employees of the 
Mar Theatre will be screened.

"Then on a random basis, all employees will participate in an ongoing 
drug screening program.

"There will be no cost to Mar employees. Employees under 18 will also 
require a parent's signature on a release form."

The random drug screening is being done in conjunction with Silver 
Cross Hospital in Joliet, Issert noted.

Evans said the co-owners are also involved with the Wilmington 
Chamber of Commerce.

Boyle is calling the idea "fantastic."

"I've never heard of another community that's done this," he said. 
"The reaction we've gotten from the business community and schools 
has just been phenomenal as far as cooperation is concerned.

"It's that we've got a problem, and we're going to correct it. When 
we use the theater (for the September public forum), we will do a 
PowerPoint demonstration on the theater screen"

"We've also printed up some cards for our officers to hand out to 
youngsters," he added.

"When we see someone helping an elderly person across the street, or 
picking up a broken pop bottle, the officer will approach the 
youngster and give them the card that says, 'You've been caught being 
good, and you're entitled to a pass for one free movie at Mar Theatre.'"

Boyle said he has received only one negative comment to date.

"From someone who was concerned what it was going to make people 
think of our community because we drug-test our kids," he noted.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman