County po­lice re­ceive grant to fight heroin

The Dundalk Eagle - - EDITORIAL - By BRAD KRO­NER bkro­ner@ches­

The Bal­ti­more County Po­lice Depart­ment (BCPD) has re­ceived a state grant to ad­dress and fight heroin use in Bal­ti­more County.

Gov­er­nor Larry Ho­gan’s ad­min­is­tra­tion is pro­vid­ing $3 mil­lion in state grants across the state “to help erad­i­cate the heroin epi­demic in Mary­land,” a press re­lease said.

On Aug. 8, Bal­ti­more County re­ceived $56,345 to hire and sup­port a heroin co­or­di­na­tor.

The heroin co­or­di­na­tor will use data in­put and anal­y­sis in or­der to help law en­force­ment iden­tify and track drug traf­fick­ers in the re­gion.

Mary­land’s Heroin and Opi­oid Emer­gency Task Force has said that the state should des­ig­nate the Bal­ti­more-Wash­ing­ton High In­ten­sity Drug Traf­fick­ing Area as the “cen­tral repos­i­tory for all Mary­land drug in­tel­li­gence.”

“Through­out Mary­land, from our small­est town to our biggest city, heroin is de­stroy­ing lives,” said Gov­er­nor Ho- gan in a state­ment. “A co­or­di­nated law en­force­ment and treat­ment re­sponse is es­sen­tial to our ad­min­is­tra­tion’s abil­ity to help fight this epi­demic and pro­vide our ci­ti­zens with the life­sav­ing sup­port they need. These heroin co­or­di­na­tors will work to en­sure that ev­ery drug seizure, ar­rest, and in­ves­ti­ga­tion is doc­u­mented and up­loaded into ex­ten­sive shared data­bases to give us a clear pic­ture of the paths these deadly drugs take to get into our com­mu­ni­ties. And our peer re­cov­ery spe­cial­ists will work to en­sure of­fend­ers with ad­dic­tions get the treat­ment and sup­port they need to get on the road to re­cov­ery.”

All Mary­land ju­ris­dic­tions will par­tic­i­pate in the ex­ten­sive data shar­ing pro­gram, lead­ing to a more in­te­grated and in­ves­tiga­tive strat­egy for ad­dress­ing heroin-re­lated crime, ac­cord­ing to Glenn Fue­ston, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Gov­er­nor’s Of­fice of Crime Con­trol & Pre­ven­tion.

The Heroin Co­or­di­na­tor Grant pro­gram will “ad­vance statewide in­ves­ti­ga­tions and pros­e­cu­tions of drug traf­fick­ers, as well as re­fer­rals for treat­ment for in­di­vid­u­als strug­gling with ad­dic­tion,” Fue­ston said.

Spokesman Cpl.John Wachter said that the Bal­ti­more County Po­lice Depart­ment is in the process of hir­ing a heroin co­or­di­na­tor. The per­son should be hired in about a month, he said.

“Ul­ti­mately, this po­si­tion will sup­port in­ves­ti­ga­tors in pri­or­i­tiz­ing cases and iden­ti­fy­ing where we can have the biggest im­pact,” Wachter said. “It will al­low in­ves­ti­ga­tors to spend more time on the street and not en­ter­ing data.”

The Heroin Co­or­di­na­tor po­si­tion will be re­spon­si­ble for “data en­try and in­for­ma­tion shar­ing with re­gional and fed­eral part­ners, iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and de-con­flic­tion of po­ten­tial heroin deal­ers, anal­y­sis and mon­i­tor­ing of heroin ar­rests, over­doses and com­plaints through­out the County,” Wachter said.

The BCPD did not re­ceive fund­ing for the Safe Streets Ini­tia­tive, a plan that con­nects se­ri­ous drug of­fend­ers to drug treat­ment, health care, ed­u­ca­tion and other ser­vices.

Wachter said that the depart­ment did not ap­ply for this grant.

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