Police: Call station if you find needles; don't pick them up
COAL TOWNSHIP - Coal Township Police are advising residents to let officers know if they discover used hypodermic needles or other illicit items that could be potentially harmful.
The News-Item was e-mailed photos of used needles from a reader who saw them while she was walking along Tioga Street near Howard Street.
"My friend took this picture and we have children..." the woman wrote. "Can't anything be done?"
She said it wasn't the first time such paraphernalia was found, citing the railroad tracks near the end of Shamokin Street as another site where needles, as well as pink tourniquets, have been found.
Township Police Chief William Carpenter said the best advice is to not disturb the items.
"Don't touch them. Contact us and we will pick them up and properly dispose of them," he said. "Don't gather them up; just let us know."
The same holds true for amateur sleuths trying to identify individuals who improperly dispose garbage in wooded areas.
"People are rooting through garbage bags, trying to find some piece of evidence of who did the dumping, and there are times when those garbage bags contain used needles that are potentially dangerous," Carpenter said.
While found, used needles may have been used for prescribed medicines, they could also have been used to inject illegal drugs, he said.
The concerned reader asked if police can obtain fingerprints from a used hypodermic needle. They can, but it's an issue of practicality, Carpenter said.
"If we believe the item has a reason to be connected to a crime, we will do it as part of an investigation," he said. "Otherwise, we will just dispose of them properly."
The number for the Coal Township Police Department is 570-644-0333. Shamokin police can be reached at 570-648-5708.
Found in the lot
A used hypodermic needle was found in the municipal lot in Shamokin by a local man out for a walk over the summer. He called the police and also notified The News-Item. A member of the newspaper's staff also contacted city police and AREA Services, and the needle was properly disposed of by emergency personnel.