BentonPolice DeptCoin Arkansas BACK 1Officers with the Benton Police Department (BNPD) worked 30 separate drug related incidents during the October monthly initiative “Nope To Dope,” many of which were initiated by public tips. The main importance of the monthly initiative is to educate the public on the dangers of drug abuse, whether it is with the use of illegal or legal drugs.

Lt. Eric Haworth said though there is still work to do when it comes to combating illegal drug use, abuse and the sale of narcotics, officers are encouraged by the public’s willingness to report suspected drug activity.

“Citizens are the first line when it comes to drug activity,” he said. “No one knows the neighborhoods better than those who reside in those areas.  When a citizen decides to act on suspicious activity it allows narcotic investigators to have first-hand knowledge of what is going on, which saves time and resources when developing a case.”

Haworth said the 30 drug related reports during October led to 27 arrests. He said the type of charges and drugs varied with each individual case. He also said officers are noticing an alarming trend – though there has been a decrease of opioid related cases, there has been an increase in the number of cases involving heroin.

This is a trend that is not exclusive to Benton. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently stated that heroin overdose cases have tripled within the past 4 years, and that past misuse of prescription opioids is the strongest risk factor for heroin initiation and use. The CDC said that the increased availability of heroin, combined with its relatively low price (compared with diverted prescription opioids) and high purity appear to be major drivers of the upward trend in heroin use and overdose.

The CDC, however, doesn’t say that people should become lax on prescription medication issues, and neither does the BNPD. Prescription medication, particularly opioid medications (Examples: hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, and codeine), is being labeled an “epidemic” by the CDC, and for good reason. The number of people that have died from drug overdoses in the U.S. has skyrocketed to the point where it is now the top cause of accidental deaths in the nation. The CDC also states that since 2000, the rate of deaths from drug overdoses has increased 137 percent.

This is why the public is strongly encouraged to contact the BNPD at 501-778-1171 or anonymously at 501-315-TIPS. Individuals also may send us anonymous information to CRIMES (274637) with the keyword BNPD in the body of the text or go to to leave a tip. A crime tip can also be submitted via the official Benton Police Department app found on ITunes and Google Play.

“There are no small tips when it comes to how you feel about you or your family’s safety,” said Lt. Haworth. “A citizen should use the tip line or any other means of reporting anytime they suspect drug activity regardless of the amount of information they have to provide. “

Haworth said the anonymous tip line gives the citizen the opportunity to be proactive in their areas without exposing themselves to potential threats or retaliation. He said citizens should know that if they report suspicious activity, “Under no circumstances should they place themselves in danger to obtain information.”

Haworth said citizens should report the exact location of the activity, the time of the heaviest activity, why type of suspected drugs are involved, and describe the individuals involved - to include the race, approximate age, sex, height, weight, how they are dressed, hair style, any names heard, and if they have visible marks, scars or tattoos.

“After we receive a tip, an investigator will be assigned to the case,” Haworth said. “That investigator will follow up on the tip and either validate the nature of the activity or determine there is no wrong doing. If the tip is validated, an investigative plan is developed and carried out.”

The anonymous tips could lead to investigations by the department’s Special Investigations Unit, which is comprised of BNPD officers and deputies from the Saline County Sheriff’s Office. Haworth said the SIU team is the primary unit dedicated to the investigation and disruption of drug/narcotic activity, prostitution and human trafficking offenses and vice crimes that occur within Saline County.

“Narcotic investigations are typically time consuming in nature and require more specialized training above what the typical patrol officer has the opportunity to obtain,” He said. “Having a narcotics unit allows the assigned officers to put forth the needed efforts and address the bigger picture of gathering information, infiltrating the organization and successfully dismantling their operation in a manner that promotes safety to the citizens, officers involved and the offenders.”

Haworth credits BNPD Chief Kirk Lane and Saline County Sheriff Rodney Wright for recognizing that the collaboration between the two departments will best serve the citizens in Saline County communities. He said this collaboration allowed the SIU to double in team size and it has made available, “necessary resources to address what some might think is a seemingly endless issue of narcotic related activity.”

“In reality when looking at the overall ‘bigger picture’ the efforts made by both departments have a greater impact to disrupting narcotic organizations and their ability to operate unsolicited,” Haworth said. “When SIU and community citizens work together, they are taking a proactive role and the citizens develop a better understanding as to why results are not immediately observed when it comes to addressing the issues presented. This prevents frustration on the part of the reporting party and promotes higher levels of confidence that the police department is doing their part to see that issues are being addressed accordingly.”

What else can the public do besides reporting suspected drug activity? Lt. Haworth said there are a couple of facets that a citizen should factor, not only to assist the narcotics unit, but to make themselves more aware and better capable of recognizing issues they may not be aware are present. He said citizens should first become more educated on all narcotics, including the terminology and their effects on an individual.

“Every year the number of children and young adults involved in not only the consumption, but the sale and distribution of narcotics, including prescription medication, increases,” Lt. Haworth said. “The vast majority of these cases began with children experimenting either by obtaining the substance from other people or at home.”

“Parents - watch for changes in your child’s behavior for things such as: Have there been changes in your child’s sleep pattern? Has your child’s appetite changed significantly? Has their attitude changed for no apparent reason? Are prescription drugs missing or disappearing? Watch your child’s behavioral patterns. Some of these patterns can be explained by the natural growth process, however, taken in combination, they could signal potential drug problems.”

Haworth said citizens should also become more vigilant to activities taking place in the neighborhoods.

“Get to know your neighbors,” he said. “This will help with determining whether activities observed are suspicious or someone’s regular routine. Things to look for may include:  Is there an unusually large amount of heavy foot traffic in and out of a house, apartment or parking lot?”

Haworth said drug activity usually involves people visiting for a short duration. He said you should ask: Do you notice unusual exchanges between people? Nervous exchanges of small items or money may be indicative of a drug transaction.  Are these exchanges taking place through a car window or residence window? Noticing regular, short meetings taking place between the same people at the same location. 

We encourage parents to talk to their children about the dangers of drug usage, because education is the key to helping us make a difference in our community. We can further reduce the lives this problem destroys by simply educating those around us and by taking time to secure and dispose of old medications.

To report suspicious activity, a crime or to receive information about this monthly initiative, call the Benton Police Department at 501-778-1171 or 501-315-TIPS. Individuals also may send us anonymous information to CRIMES (274637) with the keyword BNPD in the body of the text or go to to leave a tip. A crime tip can also be submitted via the official Benton Police Department app found on ITunes and Google Play.

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