This Absurdly Simple Police Trick Has Actually Worked

August 7th 2015

Kyle Jaeger

A flyer soliciting help from drug dealers to catch other drugs dealers appeared on the Facebook page of a Kentucky sheriff's office on Monday, and apparently the social media effort has already paid off. At least two drug-related arrests have been made in Franklin County, Kentucky, in connection to the post.

"Is your drug dealing competition costing you money?" the flyer asked. "We offer a free service to eliminate your drug competition."

A sketch of a marijuana leaf appears in the upper left-hand corner of both versions of the form. It also requests answers to a series of questions about the details of their competition's business: Names, locations, phone numbers, and hours of operations. The police department hopes that this is enough information to catch whoever is turned in using the form.

Please share!!!!!!! We need your help.

Posted by Franklin County Sheriff onMonday, August 3, 2015


Unconventional law enforcement tactics such as this tend to garner public support, especially from residents who worry about the impact of drug dealing in their communities, but the implied trickery of the post has led some to question police policies that call for assistance from the very people they're meant to prosecute.

"I would've never, ever thought that something that simple would've gone viral like this," Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton told ATTN:. "I've never seen the numbers [of tips] that we're seeing off this. It's sparked national interest, it's sparked a national debate."

He added that there had already been a success story to come out of the post—two people accused of trafficking cocaine and marijuana were arrested on Thursday. "It was meant in a very lighthearted manner, but in the same respect, nobody wants to live next door to a drug dealer," Melton said. 

The Franklin County Sheriff's Office was inspired by an similar advertisement published by the Darien News, a Georgia-based weekly paper, in July. The advertising space was purchased by the McIntosh County Sheriff's Office. It was designed to capture the attention of a specific audience—drug dealers—and entice them with promises of support.

Rapper Ludacris came across the viral image and shared it on his Instagram account, followed by the hashtag, #NowThatsLudacris. The Franklin County Sheriff responded on Facebook, posting the Instagram photo and commenting that the flyer had already proved effective.



A photo posted by @ludacris on


"Arrests have been made as a result of information received," the sheriff's office wrote on Tuesday. "Stay tuned........"

In McIntosh County, Georgia, where the original flyer was advertised (albeit in print), the sheriff reminded reporters that his office was known for taking unconventional approaches to law enforcement.

"Nothing ventured, nothing gained," Sheriff Stephen Jessup told local television station WTOC. "We've always done things a little bit differently here in McIntosh County. We're going to appeal to all for all the help we can get."

In April, the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office in Cincinnati, Ohio, rented out billboard space along a local freeway, urging people to anonymously report drug dealers in the area via telephone or text.