Police Chief discusses growing opioid problem By Ken Meuler

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Monthly Report to the Community – West Bend Police Department
November 2016

Message from Chief of Police Kenneth J Meuler:

For the past several years we have all read and heard of the opioid and heroin epidemic in the United States. While some still see this as a “big city” problem, those that have been following the news in West Bend and Washington County know the problem is just as prevalent here.

The incident that occurred at Walmart on Nov. 3. exemplifies how the problem affects a number of crimes and calls for service. On Nov. 3 officers were dispatched to Walmart to investigate a felony shoplifting case. When officers arrived in the parking lot they were flagged down by a citizen that advised them of a man that was passed out in an auto. The officers went to the auto and found a 44-year-old man that was unresponsive.

The officers administered Narcan and revived the individual. Officers also investigated the shoplifting they were dispatched to and took a 42-year-old female into custody for taking over $1,200 in merchandise from the store. The increase in overdoses and the increase in crime related to supporting those addicted to heroin has accounted for a large percentage of our investigations.

A group of professionals in Washington County formed a county-wide Heroin Task Force to study the problem and implement an action plan to reduce and eventually eliminate the opioid and heroin problem in the County.

To date they have done an effective job of educating the community of the problem and trying to educate parents and schools of early warning signs of addiction. In addition, law enforcement agencies in Washington County and surrounding counties have dedicated additional resources and have been working together to identify those that have been supplying and dealing heroin in the area.

What the County and most of the State lacks are treatment facilities and means to get addicts into facilities to receive effective treatment. This clearly is not a problem we are going to stop by arresting only. Elevate in Jackson and all the law enforcement agencies in the County have resource guides available to assist individuals and families seeking treatment for heroin or other drug addictions. If you, a family member, or associate are in need of treatment, please contact Elevate or your local police department to obtain a resource guide. The sooner you get help, the better chance you have of successful treatment.

Stay safe and enjoy the holidays with your families and friends. I hope to see you in the community during the holiday season. If I don’t, Happy Holidays to all.

Kenneth J. Meuler, Chief of Police

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