Last week Mammoth Town Officials issued a press release to distance themselves from Steve Searles sticker campaign to raise awareness of crime and methamphetamine use in Mammoth. A few days later, the Police Chief fired Searles from his position as wildlife officer. This week town officials issued another press release to say that Searless bear program was no longer needed because it had been so successful. So far no one has said that Searles anti-drug campaign led to his firing.
Searles is upset by the loss of his job with the police department, but says he doesn’t plan to quit his new campaign to focus attention on crime and methamphetamine use that he sees in his neighborhood.
Methamphetamine abuse is widely touted as a scourge to communities nationwide, especially in the West. Many town officials including the Police and Mayor Kirk Stapp report that since the sticker campaign stared they have received calls from concerned citizens who wonder if Mammoth has a methamphetamine problem.
Searles says that if Mammoth doesn’t have a methamphetamine problem then that is something to celebrate because Mammoth would be the only town in this country that doesn’t have a problem with meth.
Searles says that if he lived somewhere else elimination of meth would be a pipe dream but the town is four square miles and isolated. Searles believes that it is possible to eliminate the demand for methamphetamine in Mammoth by bringing the issue to light. He wonders if he is reaching that far out of the box by thinking that regular people can do something about the problem.
Monday town officials issued a press release that explained that the bear program has been very effective and has achieved its designated community goals and objectives and is no longer necessary.
Documents released by the town show that during contract negotiations Searles had asked to start a crime prevention program and laid out a business plan to do so. Then last week, the contract that the town offered Steve was pulled and he was fired.
Whether the anti-drug campaign was the sticking point during the negotiations or not, the nationally recognized face of the Mammoth Bear program is out of a job.