Woodstock Officers on Wrong Side of Drug Bust

Staff Editor: Logan Haines

Officer BASGE

Official insignia badge of the Woodstock Police Department presenting their mantras and qualities expected from those enlisted. Photo Credit: Woodstock Police

Our boys in blue, the officers whose sworn duty it is to protect us and our property, uphold the law, serve the people are themselves people of great character. They have to be tough, disciplined, tactile, problem solvers, and so much more to perform the daily tasks they take on. We expect the best from them even in the most mundane job and hold them to an elevated status of personal moral code. In the end however, they are still humans themselves and everyone falls prey to vices, officers are no exception.

The temptation was too much for a group of officers at the Woodstock Police Department and all started with one man. Officer Michael Smart, the department’s Rookie of the Year for 2017, was fired as of late September after officials had received an anonymous tip that an officer is involved with some form of drug consumption, as Assistant Chief Kevin Culpepper said in a press release.

Culpepper is on record for commenting, “There’s no reason to believe Smart was on duty at the time of the alleged drug use,” as well as stating there’s nothing indicating the illegal substances came from within the department’s evidence room.

MICHAEL smurt

Shot of Officer Michael Smart the original perpetrator involved in the allegations regarding internal drug use in the Woodstock Police Department. Photo Credit: Woodstock Police

Since the investigation was launched into alleged drug use by officers three have been suspended or placed on administrative leave and two other officers were fired Oct. 31, bringing the total number of fired officers involved in this scandal to a whopping three. Woodstock Police spokeswoman Brittany Page confirmed the same day that Dylan James Cotter and a fellow unidentified officer, as well as the original suspect Smart, were relieved of duty for allegedly using cocaine.

Ironically in January, Smart was commended for his overwhelming impressive work in the drug division for making 57 drug arrests last year. Oh, how the mighty can fall, it’s a dangerous game for a narcotics officer to be toying with so many dangerous substances constantly. Only two other officers in the department have held a higher record.

Mason Nix, a senior at Woodstock High School, believes, “Stuff like this is bound to happen in the police, especially someone who already works so close with the drugs. I’m curious who the secret tipper was and if it was a revenge to the officer or not?”

In a statement the Woodstock Police Department proclaimed, “The Woodstock Police Department is committed to thoroughness and transparency in investigating allegations of employee misconduct and want to assure the public that appropriate action will be taken when warranted.”

During the investigation the unnamed officer has attempted to appeal his decision, and a fourth officer party to the allegations was exonerated of any wrongdoing during the investigation.

OTher man

Another officer that was terminated due to accusations of illegal cocaine abuse, Dylan James Cotter, among other unnamed accomplices. Photo Credit: Woodstock Police

The accusations and terminations do have people in the community wondering “how long this had been going on for,” and as far as being apart of narcotics in the department he “most certainly had to have connections in the drug community.” Others are crediting the department for not attempting to cover a scandal like this up and having the courage to come forth with complete honesty void of shame. It allows the community to rest easy knowing even though every operation has their bad seeds they can rest easy in the solidified mindset the law enforcement in charge with protecting them is not prone to corruption and can be trusted with full faith.

Another senior from Woodstock High School, Ben Ziemecki, voiced his opinion with “Frankly, I find it utterly inappropriate and disrespectful to the rest of the hardworking force and all their effort they give. These men and women are risking their lives and doing the dirty work to keep us safe in our comfortable living. For some officer like Smart to go and do something dumb that squanders the good name of law enforcement is frustrating.”

Officers already don’t get the respect and admiration they deserve, and in agreeance with Ziemecki it’s selfish ignorant decisions like that of ex-officer Smart which really sully and degrade the nature of our spectacular police force. In the current state of society and press all people tend to focus on the negative side to any situation presented in front them. In due time this terrible notion will subside in wake of a new more protective societal theorem.

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