“Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” So goes the paraphrasing of a quote by political writer H.L. Mencken, and these seem to be the words the Sheriff’s Office in Navajo County, Arizona is living by.

Law enforcement officials there are circulating a postcard advocating that drug dealers turn each other in “to help eliminate your drug competition.” The postcards, which are being handed out by narcotics officers and homeowner groups and make a pretty shitty commentary on how the local government perceives not only the intelligence, but also the morality, of the people in their neck of the woods, read, “Is your drug dealing competition costing you money. We offer you a FREE service…”

According to the Associated Press, which reported the story, similar tactics have been used by authorities in several other areas of nation, including Georgia and Kentucky.

“The drug business is a nasty business. There’s no honor among those folks, zero,” local Sheriff KC Clark told the AP, expressing his disgust with the dishonorable behavior of local drug dealers, which comes off both condescending and hypocritical considering that Clark signed his name to the postcards, so he is the one inciting this behavior.

Sheriff Pat Melton, who is running a similar program out of his jurisdiction of Franklin County, Kentucky, told the AP that the invitation for locals to betray friends and colleagues who have let them into their confidence is all about community outreach. “We’re hearing people are tired of the drugs and thugs,” he said. “As a result, that interaction with our community is huge with what we’re doing.”

But the invitation for locals to betray the friends and colleagues who have let them into their confidence not only assumes the worst nature of his county’s residents, it also makes fun of them at the same time.

There’s nothing wrong in principle with keeping the sale of drugs out of communities where they can get to kids or cause violence between criminals. We just wish publicly elected officials like Clark and Melton didn’t have to smug hypocrites while they did it.