NH woman picks up nearly a dozen needles, 'disgusted' after police fail to respond for 7 hours
OSSIPEE — A resident upset after officers failed to respond to her call about hypodermic needles on the streets says miscommunication between the police department and sheriff's office may be to blame.
Julie Rosiak, who is also a newly appointed member of the Conservation Commission, said she called three different authorities after finding nearly a dozen needles on the side of the road. She then took her complaint to the Board of Selectmen before receiving answers as to why this incident happened the way it did.
While out on a walk with a friend on May 4, Rosiak noticed 11 hypodermic needles on the ground, about a half mile away from a school on Route 16B. She called the Ossipee Police Department at 2:40 p.m. informing them of the needles, before leaving the area to head back to work.
At 5:30 p.m., no one had arrived to pick up the needles, Rosiak said, so she called the Carroll County Sheriff's Office because the Ossipee Police Department had left for the day.
Rosiak noticed the needles still on the side of the road at 6:30 p.m. and again at 9:30 p.m., when she decided to call the New Hampshire State Police. Dispatch informed her that no troopers were in the area at that time, and transferred her call to the Sheriff's Office.
"I told them how disgusted I was that this was the third call I was making in seven hours," Rosiak said. "Disgusted isn't a strong enough word to express how I felt."
After waiting for an officer to arrive, Rosiak decided to take matters into her own hands by using a water bottle and tongs provided by a nearby friend to pick up the 11 needles off the ground.
"I felt that I had no choice but to pick them up and take them off the road and get them away from the community," Rosiak said.
Rosiak noticed a state trooper at an Irving gas station on her way to dispose of the needles at the Sheriff's Office and instead gave the needles to the trooper. Rosiak explained the situation to him and the trooper reportedly gave her his number, telling her to contact him if a similar situation occurs where officers don't arrive to pick up needles.
"I was fuming, I mean, I have never felt so angry," Rosiak said.
She brought her complaint to the Board of Selectmen, and has since talked to the Carroll County Sheriff's Office and the Ossipee Police Department about the incident.
Ossipee Police Chief James Eldridge helped Rosiak understand why no officers responded — partly due because of a busy night — but he did say that he takes the blame for the way the incident panned out after her first call to the department, Rosiak said.
“He bears full responsibility for the initial call and the fact that it was not answered on a timely basis," said Selectmen Chair Richard Morgan who also spoke to Eldridge.
The Ossipee police officer on duty the night of May 4 visited Rosiak to apologize and explain what transpired on his end.
Rosiak believes miscommunication between the Carroll County Sheriff's Office and the Ossipee Police Department occurred. The Sheriff's Office dispatcher allegedly texted someone in the Ossipee Police Department after receiving Rosiak's two calls instead of using the radio, Morgan said.
The Ossipee Police Department has since issued new policies, Rosiak said. She was unsure exactly what these new policies are.
"The chief has assured me, and I am very confident, that that will not happen again as far as the needles not being collected in a timely manner," Morgan said.
The Board of Selectmen warns the public not to touch any hypodermic needles found in the community. Instead, call police to have an officer take care of it.
"Now that the snow's gone I’m afraid there’s a lot of them out there. I’m afraid we might cringe if we knew how many are out there," Morgan said.
NH1 News reached out to the Ossipee Police Department, but has not received a response.