APPLETON - The war on drugs is a never-ending battle for law enforcement.
But two local agencies are now using a new tool in their arsenal - social media. Appleton police and the Outagamie County Sheriff's Department are featuring suspected drug houses online.
Some, though, say this is an invasion of privacy.
The Appleton Police Department posted a flyer on its Facebook page Wednesday. According to court records, 24-year-old Robert Golla was arrested at the Birchwood Avenue duplex on July 10 for possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, maintaining a drug house and bail jumping.
"We put that out not only to people in the immediate neighborhood so that we can have them be our eyes and ears in that area to give us additional information, but also out to the public so they know what our enforcement efforts are," said Appleton Police Sgt. Dave Lund.
Neighbors say they were unaware of the alleged activity in a duplex here in Appleton, but they say the notice from the police department will help them be aware of what's happening in their neighborhood.
"It really was kind of shocking because usually I am home all day with the kids and I see a lot of things going on around here and I had no idea," said Sharon Baehman, who lives in the neighborhood.
In addition to posting the flyers online, officers will take them door-to-door to surrounding homes. But not everyone likes the idea.
The woman who says she rents the duplex told FOX 11 she is frustrated her house is being targeted. The woman, who did not want to appear on camera, insists no drugs were found when police searched the home and says she was not arrested. However, court records show Golla is facing drug charges for multiple arrests while living at the duplex on Birchwood.
The American Civil Liberties Union says posting the pictures online doesn't solve the drug problem, but rather forces drug users to find their fix elsewhere.
"If they have already talked with the neighbors and passed out flyers, what's Facebook going to accomplish, other than some interesting publicity like your news story for the department and alerting buyers to go somewhere else?" said ACLU Wisconsin Executive Director Chris Ahmuty.
However, police say public safety outweighs any privacy concerns residents of targeted homes may have.
"I understand both sides of that, but many people are wanting to have that information on a daily basis of what is going on in the community," said Lund.
A balancing act police hope will make neighborhoods safer.
Golla is scheduled to be in court on these charges on Monday.
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