NEWARK (KPIX 5) — A Bay Area police force made an unusual offer to meth users this week, offering to test the drug to see if it’s gluten-free with a tongue-in-cheek social media post.
At first glance, the Newark Police Department’s Facebook page is pretty standard stuff: officers getting awards, a missing elderly person and a report about fallen power pole.
But users who kept scrolling this week were treated to a bit of law-enforcement comedy gold.
The post read: “Is your meth laced with deadly gluten? Not sure? Bring your meth down to the PD and we will test it for you for free!”
The post has been viewed 24 million times, shared nearly a quarter million times and has 9,000 comments.
KPIX 5 asked Newark Police Lt. Chomnan Loth if he was comfortable with the title ‘social media genius.’
“Uh, no. Because I don’t think it’s necessarily genius, replied Loth with a chuckle. “I thought it was just funny.”
Loth manages the department’s Facebook page, and came up with the idea for the post after watching an infomercial about gluten free diets followed by a movie about Pablo Escobar, the infamous Columbian drug lord.
Loth says he wants to show the public that officers are not emotionless robots.
“We’re just regular people, just like everyone else. Your neighbor, mom, dad, brothers, and sisters,” said Loth. “And it’s nice and refreshing to see a police department that’s not too serious. We’re able to show the human side of it, and we do have a sense of humor.”
The comments have been overwhelmingly supportive, but there were a few that criticized the department. One read, “When you are done trying to be a comedian, maybe you can post some links for people trying to get help with addiction.”
To which Loth replied: “Relax, let us have some fun, huh? We have plenty of serious posts.”
“We deal with death. We deal with sad circumstances. We deal with a lot of extraordinary things,” said Loth. “You know, it’s hard on us. It’s hard on the community. And sometimes, you need that relief; just to be able to crack a smile and to laugh a little bit.”
For the record, the police did not receive any takers who wanted to have their meth tested for gluten.