Burnet County holding prescription-drugs takeback, auto-theft prevention programs on April 27

CONNIE SWINNEY • PICAYUNE STAFF

BURNET — Two programs will combine forces to take aim at dangerous prescription drugs and car thieves April 27.

The Burnet County Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Unit and the Heart of Texas Auto Theft Task Force have invited the public to the Courthouse Square 10 a.m.-2 p.m. April 27 for the programs.

BCSO, in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Agency, is participating in the National Drug Takeback Initiative, conducted twice a year for the past five years.

Resident are asked to place old, outdated or unused prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs in a bag and deliver them to the drop-off location downtown.

“So many people don’t know what to do with those medications. You have a risk of small children that may get them into their hands,” said Investigator Denton Wills of the BCSO Special Operations Unit. “Obviously, in the past, they’ve flushed (the medications) down our wastewater systems. We’ve found that’s not the thing to do.”

The DEA-funded program has collected 2 million pounds of drugs since the program began.

“In the wrong hands and abused, prescription drugs are very dangerous,” Wills said.

At the same time and location, Capt. Joey Canady, project director of the Heart of Texas Auto Theft Task Force, will conduct a new program to help recover stolen vehicles.

Actual Vehicle Image Program uses photographs taken of participants’ vehicles.

“We’re going to have a digital image taken of that vehicle, store that image, and, in the unfortunate event that vehicle is stolen, we can distribute that image to all local law enforcement,” Canady said. “Most cars don’t have GPS (Global Positioning Systems) tracking capabilities and most cars that do subscribe to a service, and, if they’re not current in subscribing to the service, the company won’t give us the information.”

In the event a participant’s car is stolen, the image also is uploaded to the program’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/hotattf.

Another program conducted by the auto-theft task force involves Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etching on windshields as well as education programs.

“More than 50 percent of the cars stolen have the keys left in them or they’re unlocked. We refer to that as victim-assisted crime,” Canady said. “Everyone needs to remain vigilant. Take your keys, lock your car, hide your things.”

connie@thepicayune.com