ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Hundreds of dollars’ worth of drugs are going up in flames. The newest tool at the Rockford Police Department is saving taxpayers thousands of dollars. The drug terminator helps officers safely and quickly cut down on the backlog of illegal drugs.
"Here's some heroin, some weed," Rockford Police Lt. Scott Oswald, said, showing bags filled with drugs that will soon be burned.
"Pills, pill bottles, it can burn the glass pipes and then obviously marijuana, cocaine, heroin, prescription drugs," Lt. Oswald said, listing off the types of drugs that can be used in the Drug Terminator.
The simple oil barrel is hooked up to a ventilation system and it turns any kind of drug or drug paraphernalia into ashes. Officers load the drugs into a container which then shoots them into the barrel to burn.
"It will burn the drugs without releasing the fumes into the atmosphere," Lt. Oswald explained.
The Drug Terminator is saving the police department thousands of dollars. Before, officers would have to take all of their drugs to a facility 150 miles away in Viola, Illinois. Each trip cost $12,000.
"We would try to make the max of the time that we could do it, but it was just so cost prohibitive and it was coming out of our budget it just wasn't worthwhile," Lt. Oswald said.
The department made the one-time investment, buying the drug terminator for $1,500. Instead of burning drugs once a year, officers are cutting down on the department's backlog of drugs, using the machine at least once a month.
When the fire goes out, ashes are all that's left of drugs that once caused serious problems in our city.
The Drug Terminator can burn up to 300 pounds of drugs in just one hour. The ashes are simply thrown away and there is no risk to the environment.
Departments are required by law to dispose of the drugs, but until July they weren't allowed to do it themselves. Lt. Oswald worked with State Rep. John Cabello to get a law passed, allowing them to buy the drug terminator so they could destroy the drugs themselves.