When the sun goes down, the meth deals go down.
Grant County resident Steve Smartt details more than 25 years of service as an Oregon State Police trooper in his book “On Target: One Trooper’s Experiences During the Early Methamphetamine Years.”
“I mainly worked at 6 p.m. to 4 a.m., and when people are home sleeping, they don’t really realize what’s going on out there,” Smartt said. “Meth monkeys aren’t sleeping at 10 at night. That’s when they’re active, stealing stuff and making meth deals, and a lot goes on in the covered darkness.”
Smartt worked in Coos County from the 1990s to 2015 and kept records of what he saw in notebooks. His wife recommended he write something for his grandchildren so they knew what he did.
“In 2019, in the late summer, I took all of my 25 and a half years worth of notebooks ... and started going through them chronologically and started writing down the stories,” Smartt said.
His wife looked over the work and recommended he send it to a publisher.
“This is pretty funny stuff,” she told him.
They sent portions of the book over to several publishers, and Dorrance Publishing Co. said they were interested in the book.
After four months of writing, he had over 200 pages of stories. No embellishment or hyperbole, the book details real events with only names being changed, he said.
While on the force, being able to confront the issues associated with illegal drugs, especially meth, was a huge motivation for Smartt.
“Don’t let anyone ever tell you drugs are a victimless crime,” Smartt said in his book. “I have seen the results of the horrendous sexual and physical abuse on the spouses and children of drug users whose deviancy knows no limits.”
He said about 5-10% percent of society causes the bulk of the problems, and a lot of it surrounds the acquisition of drugs.
“Whether you’re stealing stuff to trade for drugs or you’re selling it, the problem goes back to drugs,” Smartt said.
In the book, Smartt describes being shot at and stabbed at with knives, syringes, forks and screwdrivers. The lives of his wife, children and dog were also threatened.
“This only served to strengthen my resolve to arrest every doper I could get my hands on,” Smartt said in his book.
In one instance, someone peered through the window of his family’s ranch home when only his wife and son were home. He said threats to his family concerned him more than his personal health.
“They shouldn’t be threatened for what I do,” Smartt said.
Smartt hopes readers get a better understanding of the work law enforcement conducts, especially during the night when many are in bed, unaware of what goes on.
“I loved the job, and I had a ball doing it, but I hope people realize that the people out there doing this job dedicate a lot,” he said. “It takes a lot to do it.”
The book is available for purchase on Amazon at www.amazon.com/Target-Troopers-Experiences-During-Methamphetamine/dp/1647020166.