Man questions LPD protocol for needles found on street

On Wednesday afternoon, Casey Diaz said he noticed a needle by his front door and called the police for help. He said a dispatcher told him to "do whatever he wanted with it."

Posted: Jun. 15, 2018 6:50 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)-- A Lafayette man is looking for answers about what the public should do if they find a needle.

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On Wednesday afternoon, Casey Diaz said he noticed a needle by his front door and called the police for help. He said a dispatcher told him to "do whatever he wanted with it."

Casey Diaz knows his neighborhood is a spot where crime happens. Until one night he came home to yet another needle in his bushes and had enough.

This isn't the first time he's had to deal with an incident like this, it's actually the third time in the past year. But when he came home from work Wednesday afternoon, he noticed one of these right at his doorstep.

"Lafayette Police, 'Hi I just came home and found another syringe in front of my house. But I was told I should call you guys. This is the third one I've found this year.
'I mean we can come and dispose of it or you can dispose of it yourself, there's really nothing we can do.'

"I was shocked by the reaction, the nonchalantness if you will," said Diaz. "I mean she stated there wasn't anything they could do about it, and that was the really shocking and concerning part about it to me."

Tippecanoe County Health Department Environmental Secretary Amanda Balser says you shouldn't pick them up without proper equipment.

"We recommend that you never pick up a needle," Balser said "Call us or call the police."

After Diaz did call in and received that response, he took to Facebook where other community members chimed in on their similar experience. He continued to do what the dispatcher told him, even if it meant he was committing a felony by having it in his possession.

"I picked it up myself because that's what they told me to do," said Diaz "Which was uncomfortable but I threw it in the trash. What else am I suppose to do with it?"

WLFI confirmed with Lafayette Police that this was one of their dispatchers. Lieutenant Scott Galloway said people should call in if this happens.

"We'll address our dispatch unit so they know they are aware that that's the protocol they need to follow," said Diaz.

As for Diaz, he wants this to be a wake-up call.

"We all thought we were suppose to call the police, you know, to help us with this thing and if they aren't going to help us I don't know what to do," said Diaz. "Maybe this story will prompt some sort of action and as a community, we can figure out a system of how to resolve this and dispose of these dangerous items."

Diaz said he did call in to dispatch again and the needle was properly disposed of. LPD police cars are equipped with sharps containers to collect these needles.

WLFI spoke to Galloway a few hours ago and also confirmed he has spoken with dispatch to make sure everyone is aware of the protocol.

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