Police Seek Citizen Reports With Byrd Park Concerns

SNOW HILL – Following concerns regarding crime at Byrd Park, Snow Hill’s police chief encourages residents to report suspicious activity.

While some residents have expressed frustration regarding litter and suspected drug activity at the Snow Hill park, Police Chief Tom Davis says the best way to prevent it is to report it.

“Call us at the time it occurs,” he said. “Not afterwards.”

Byrd Park, located just off West Market Street along the Pocomoke River, is a picturesque public space that plays host to several community events throughout the year. After dark, though, some residents say it is a hotspot for drug related activities.

Snow Hill resident Erin Freeman visits the park regularly and has become increasingly disappointed in what she sees. On a Thursday earlier this month, she arrived to find trash strewn throughout the park.

“Today, the playground as well as the area surrounding it was covered it ripped up papers, empty bottles, there was something smeared all over the playground equipment, and the book box (designed to share books with local children) had been emptied and the books were thrown everywhere,” she said.

Freeman says it’s not unusual to see a car idling at the park, waiting for a second vehicle whose driver gets out and into the first vehicle for a few minutes before exiting. She’s also heard people talk about buying drugs when she’s been there with her children.

“Such a disappointment for a park that is always nicely landscaped, on the river, and utilized by so many people in the community,” she said.

Davis said this week he’d had no reports of littering at the park and that while there was drug activity in some areas of Snow Hill, his officers were doing the best they could to discourage it.

“We’re already making regular patrols there,” he said of Byrd Park.

He said Snow Hill was experiencing the same problems with opiates the rest of the country was and that the police department was making a concerted effort to control drug activity.

“It’s everywhere, even in small towns,” he said, adding that in Snow Hill there were typically between one and three heroin overdoses a month. “We haven’t had any fatal overdoses yet this year.”

He said Snow Hill’s eight-member police force struggled to fight drug crimes when citizens weren’t willing to help.

“Nobody wants to talk to us,” he said.

The best thing for residents who are concerned about drug related activity to do, he said, was call the police the moment they saw something suspicious.

“We’re always looking to combat it,” he said.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.