Epping NH Police Department

NH Police Officer Rejects A Father’s Request To Use “Scared Straight” Tactics On Son

Epping, NH- A father reportedly visited the Epping police station last weekend with his son voicing frustration to Epping police officer Donald Ross that his son was not listening to him. According to The Union Leader, the father asked Ross to”scare him straight.” Neither the father or son were identified.

Ross wrote in the police log that “I advised him I would not and that it was his job as a parent to scold and discipline his child for his actions.”

Epping Police Chief Michael Wallace said that “Although we can appreciate someone bringing their child to the police department to talk to them and we will always make the effort to talk to them, we’re not here to scare and intimidate the child.”

“We want children to feel comfortable with us and come to us if they have problems or concerns. Intimidating or scaring them doesn’t help police or the child,” Wallace said.

The visit from the father is the second of its kind this month; last week in a separate incident, a mother visited the station with her 10-year-old son who was reportedly “upset and out of control” because she refused to buy him an airsoft gun.

Epping police Capt. Jason Newman told The Union Leader that when he is in public places he hears parents frequently making playful remarks about police officers sending their children to jail. “Every officer is disheartened to hear a parent tell their child that the police officer is going to send them to jail whenever they see them. What they’re really doing is instilling fear of the police into their children,” Newman said.

Rather than use scare tactics, documentary filmmaker Micheal DeLeon believes engaging a young audience with real-life stories from people who have faced various consequences for criminal behavior and drug abuse is a worthwhile approach. DeLeon, a former drug addict who spent 14 years in prison, presented his “Steered Straight” program to students last week at Somersworth Middle School in Somersworth, about 20 miles away from Epping. “Steered Straight” provided students with a chance to discuss the different impacts of drug abuse and listen to firsthand accounts from former addicts. “It’s not blaming, it’s not as simple as ‘just say no,” Somersworth middle school crisis counselor Emily Hayden said regarding DeLeon’s presentation. “It’s all about choices that you make and how you’re going to affect your life.”