I have always been considered a decently intelligent person. But in 1984, I was confronted with a situation which I have still never yet figured out what I should have done or not done.
I see that many people in the Internet seem to love to express their personal opinions, so maybe this might be an acceptable question to ask.
I then owned and ran one of the largest manufacturing companies in LaPorte, Indiana, my JUCA Super-Fireplaces.
My Office Manager, Beth, had become one of my closest friends. She was rather young, early 20s, and I was aware that her circle of friends regularly did pot and other drugs, which she knew that I had never done. My fireplace and woodstove business had dropped off with the Recession of the time, and I no longer needed all of my huge (30,000 square foot) factory, and so, as a "Good Deed" to the city, I decided to alter the interior of about 1/3 of the factory to become The Music Factory. It was to become a totally non-profit and non-alcohol place where Amateur Nights and Amateur Band Nights were meant to entertain the many teenagers during the three-months of summer when they had "too much time to kill". Everyone noticed that petty robberies were up during the summer, young girls were getting pregnant, and other mischief seemed to be everywhere. I thought that if the kids had a "fun place" to go to during the evenings, that maybe the city might be quieter.
The State of Indiana issued the paperwork to permit "up to 704 occupancy", although I just hoped that 50 might come to watch the activities. Word got around town (and school) quickly, and it seemed clear that once we would "open" after Memorial Day, we might get many visitors.
I went to the LaPorte Police station and talked to the Chief of Police, just to alert them to what we were planning. He already knew about it and he informed me that he had some "undercover Police Officers" acting as students in the High School, and he had already planned to have Prowl Cars regularly drive down the streets adjacent to the Music Factory. He mentioned something I had already thought about, that even though there was no Cover Charge for the Music Factory, that some kids might decide to sit in cars to listen to the music, such that they might do alcohol or drugs and still enjoy our activities. The Chief sent his Undercover Officer to visit me the following day. My guess was that he was actually around 25, but he might have been able to pull off the idea that he was a High School student.
It turned out that my Office Manager had a really beautiful girl friend, who regularly came to visit her in our JUCA Office, so I knew her really well. AND, it turned out that SHE liked "more exotic drugs" than Beth was happy with. AND it turned out that she was then dating the guy who was the Undercover Officer.
So, for a variety of reasons, my life started regularly being around the Undercover Officer, both regarding the Music Factory and the social lives that Beth and her girl friend had.
Beth noticed some changes in her girl friend, and we were so close that she talked to me about such things. She noticed that her girlfriend had begun using far more Cocaine and Heroin than she had previously been able to afford. Her girl friend told her that it was "great" having that guy as a boy friend since he would buy her expensive jewelry and drugs. I'm not exactly sure how HE ever found out that I learned these details from Beth, but he must have thought he could "talk openly to me". So, one evening as he was driving around town with just me as a passenger, he parked in the Police Department parking lot. I thought he had some sort of business he had to do, but he invited me to come with him. He took me down into the basement of the Police Station, and through some catacombs, and finally he unlocked the door of a room. He explained that this was the "Evidence Room". No one else was nearby, and he pointed to Evidence packages of every imaginable kind of drug, many of which I had never even heard of. At one point he stopped and smiled, and I realized why he had apparently been "proud" to show off his "unlimited supply" of drugs for his girlfriend. (I do NOT know if my friend and employee Beth had ever used any of those drugs that he removed from the Police Station).
But after that evening, I felt an immense "responsibility" to say something to the Chief of Police or the Mayor or SOMEBODY. But I did NOT live in their city of LaPorte, so even though I was considered a major businessperson, I had always realized that nearly everyone considered me to be "an outsider". WOULD the Chief or the Mayor even believe anything I might say about his treasured Police Officers? Worse, if I "NARCed" on her best friend's boyfriend, my friendship with Beth would seem likely to instantly end. And she might quit working for my Company. AND she might get into personal trouble regarding drugs, her best friend CERTAINLY would have been arrested and jailed for being a drug user, and both of their lives might get permanently damaged if I should "NARC" on the Undercover Police Officer. My business was pretty much firmly FIXED in LaPorte, so I could not MOVE it, and I had already been aware that I was seen as an "outsider." I wondered how difficult it might be to maintain my business if I "stirred up a hornet's nest."
So, I did NOTHING. I guess I might have started to behave differently around Beth, as I REALLY did not want to learn anything more along the illegal drug lines. But it was clear that she sensed "something" and our friendship quickly became very "distant."
It turned out that the Music Factory was not allowed to open, and so any interaction with the Police Department or that Undercover Cop disappeared.
I always WONDERED if he got into OTHER trouble, or if he began to worry that I MIGHT tell someone of my "visit to the Evidence Room", but a few months later, Beth mentioned that her best girl friend (and her Undercover Cop boyfriend) had just moved to somewhere in Florida (quitting his highly paid job and his access to unlimited drugs).
The Question: Philosophically, WHAT was the correct response I should then have had That WAS 33 years ago! I REALLY am a strong believer on Law and Order, and I have always regretted that I did not NARC on the "bad Cop". Even though it would certainly have destroyed my closest friendship with Beth and probably gotten both her and her best girl friend into trouble and possibly jail over drugs (and seriously damaged my business, both directly in needing to suddenly replace a gone Office Manager and also indirectly as even more of "an outsider" of the city.
Exactly WHAT would have turned out BETTER if I had "done my civic duty?" I suspect that he always LEFT some drugs in each package such that Convictions might still have been attained. If a Jury hears about "one pound" of pot instead of "ten pounds" that had actually been found, would a criminal get better or worse time? About the only thing I saw which might turn out differently would be regarding my dear friend Beth and her best girl friend, and their lives being severely damaged. Where does "civic duty" fit in?