Today marks the first operational kickoff to MARI (Madison Addiction Recovery Initiative). As we have seen, opiate addiction--particularly to heroin--has become a nationwide public health epidemic. Since 2013, Madison has had a 266% increase in heroin overdoses! And while the over-the-counter availability of naloxone/narcan has resulted in slightly fewer calls for EMS/Police (family members and friends are administering this life saving drug when the person overdoses), the lethality of heroin and the infusion of fentanyl has seen an increase of 366% in heroin death-overdoses over the last year.
MPD applied for and was awarded a grant through the Bureau of Justice Assistance that will be used to fund the MARI program. It should be noted that this is a PRE-charging initiative. The goal is to provide treatment to those addicted to heroin much faster than current wait times. We are hoping that by interrupting the cycle of addiction in our community, overdoses (and resultant deaths) will decrease and that some of the low level property crimes (thefts from autos, retail thefts, etc.) will also be mitigated.
MARI represents a collaboration of many community partners including the University of Wisconsin Health (Dr. Aleksandra Zgierska), Dane County Public Health/Social Services, the District Attorney's Office, the City Attorney's office, WEA Trusts and Connections Counseling.
These partners have established a criteria that has been put into place for those who opt to participate in MARI. An individual is NOT eligible for this program if they have committed a "crime against persons (i.e., battery)," any crime of violence, anyone currently on probation/parole, or anyone who is currently out on bail with a pending case.
Madison police officers will invariably have contact with persons addicted to heroin. It may be through an overdose, or while investigating a more benign property crime, or by someone (the person addicted or a friend/family member) who comes forward requesting help for a drug problem. If the individual meets eligibility requirements, this program can get someone into treatment within 24-72 hours, contrasted with the current wait period of approximately 90 days.
People referred to MARI will go to a central "hub" where they will meet with an intake counselor and be assessed. The individual will then be entered into treatment or a treatment plan will be provided.
As someone committed to restorative justice, I have always expressed strong reservations about using the criminal justice system to create criminal records and punish those who are grappling with an addiction to drugs. This "brick-and-mortar" (i.e., jail) solution has not proven to be effective in treating the underlying problem, stigmatizes people with "labels" of criminality for life, and it is expensive to warehouse people. If a person is charged with a minor crime (and meets eligibility criteria), under this initiative the charges are not referred for prosecution provided the subject stays in treatment for six months and does not commit any new crimes. As the statute of limitations is 3 years for a misdemeanor/6 years for a felony, one cannot avoid the natural consequences of the criminal justice system should the person decide to drop out of the program and/or commit more crimes.
This approach represents a path of lesser resistance; it could prove to drive down heroin deaths, mitigate crime, be more cost effective than institutional incarceration, avoids the connotation of being labeled a "criminal," and actually gets to the root of what is driving the addiction. Not to mention it is more humane. Let's hope, for all of our sake's, that this pilot proves effective!
From 5:30 a.m. on 08/31/2017 through 5:30 a.m. on 09/01/2017, MPD received 401 calls for service. This number does not include parking complaints or 911 misdials.
1) SOUTH: Drug Incident Overdose – 7:58 a.m. Officers responded to the 2000 block of Post Road where a subject (36 year old WF) was believed to be having an overdose. The subject is a known heroin user. She was conveyed to a local hospital for evaluation/treatment.
2) CENTRAL: Suspicious Person – 10:55 a.m. Officers responded to the East Campus area where two females observed a subject/suspect (18 year old AAM) who they recognized as being sought by UWPD. The suspect matched the description given by UWPD for a subject who had entered female bathrooms of dorms and photographed females without their permission. Investigation continuing. (see contact #4 below)
3) CENTRAL: Disturbance – 12:00 p.m. Officer came upon three subjects fighting in the 100 block of State Street. All three subjects/suspects were arrested for various charges (disorderly conduct, disorderly conduct while intoxicated, bail jumping and warrants). The three suspects were AAMs (ages 35, 29, and 26).
4) CENTRAL: Sexual Assault – 1:01 p.m. This call is in relation to #2 above. Officers responded to the 700 block of State Street where the same suspect as described above reportedly sexually assaulted a 21 year old WF. The suspect was located at his residence on East Campus Mall leaving on foot. He was detained and transported to the Central District for 4th degree sexual assault. UWPD has several cases they are also working on with regards to the suspect being involved. Investigation continuing. Press release issued.
5) EAST: Exposure – 1:28 p.m. A suspect (33 year old MW) exposes himself to a victim (28 year old WF) in the East Towne Mall parking lot. The suspect leaves the area. Officers are able to identify the suspect who lives out of the area. Another law enforcement agency is asked by MPD to make contact with the suspect. The suspect is issued a citation for lewd and lascivious behavior.
6) NORTH: Disturbance – 2:32 p.m. Officers initially respond to Dwight Drive where a suspect (28 year old AAM) is causing a disturbance (slamming items around and threatening to retrieve a gun and "shoot up" the place as well as any officers that respond). The suspect had left this location by the time the police arrived. The officers determine that the suspect is registered at a local motel and contact is attempted but the suspect does not respond. Investigation continuing.
7) EAST: Domestic Disturbance – 5:16 p.m. A disturbance occurred in the East Police District parking lot between a suspect (28 year old MW) and a victim (27 year old AAF). The disturbance originally started on Mayfair and the victim travelled to the East Police District where the suspect followed her. The suspect was arrested for domestic disorderly conduct.
8) EAST: Drug Incident/Investigation – 4:50 p.m. Officers responded to the 700 block of Cottage Grove for a report that a subject/suspect was injecting narcotics in a vehicle in a parking lot. Officers respond and the suspect who was observed shooting up had fled the area. A female passenger/2nd suspect (18 year old WF) was detained and arrested for possession of heroin as drugs and drug paraphernalia were located. A third subject/3rd suspect (22 year old MW) in another vehicle was also observed to be in possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia so he was arrested and charged. Investigation continuing.
9) EAST: Pulseless/Non-Breather (PNB)/AED Response – 5:28 p.m. Officers responded to the 4700 block of Dutch Mill reference a suspect (19 year old WF) who was having an overdose. The suspect was conveyed to a local hospital for a medical/mental health evaluation/treatment. Investigation continuing.
10) WEST: Drug Incident Overdose – 5:44 p.m. Officers responded to Britta Drive where a subject/suspect (31 year old WM) was observed in his vehicle unconscious. MPD Officer provided Naloxone to the suspect as well as CCR. Drugs were observed in the suspect's vehicle. The suspect was conveyed to a local hospital for evaluation/treatment. He was charged and conveyed to the jail once given a medical clearance for possession of schedule II narcotics and felony bail jumping.
11) WEST: Weapons Offense – 6:18 p.m. Officers responded to the area of Helene Parkway and Crawford Drive where a caller reported hearing multiple shots fired. No evidence or anything suspicious was located.
12) NORTH: Domestic Disturbance – 6:29 p.m. Officers responded to Warbler Lane where a disturbance was taking place between a suspect (53 year old WF) and a victim (68 year old WM). Due to mental health concerns for the suspect, she was taken into protective custody and conveyed to a local hospital for an evaluation. Investigation continuing.
13) EAST: OMVWI Arrest/Intoxicated Driver – 7:29 p.m. Officers responded to the area of E. Coldspring Avenue and W. Lakeview Avenue after a vehicle was observed striking a parked vehicle and blowing a tire. The driver/suspect (41 year old WM) was found to be in possession of drugs. He was arrested for Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated (6th offense).
14) EAST: Missing Juvenile/Runaway – 10:32 p.m. Officers responded to Great Grey Drive for a missing juvenile (14 year old AAM) who has been violating his curfew and had not returned home. Attempt to locate aired and the juvenile was entered as missing in the appropriate database.
15) SOUTH: Disturbance – 11:03 p.m. Officers responded to the 1100 block of Moorland Road for a report of a large disturbance. By the time the officers arrived, the involved parties were no longer present.
16) NORTH: Attempted Homicide – 11:47 p.m. Officers responded to the 1700 block of Northport Drive where multiple callers reported observing a female yelling in a parking lot that "he got a knife." A female (35 year old AA) was located with injuries. A 15 year old AAM was also located with a minor injury. Additional calls to dispatch revealed that a third subject (29 year old HM) was injured and asking people for help. The 29 year old HM was located, detained and eventually transported to a local hospital for an evaluation/treatment. Investigation conducted at the scene supported probable cause to arrest the female for attempted homicide. Investigation continuing.
17) CENTRAL: OMVWI Arrest/Intoxicated Driver – 12:01 a.m. Officers responded to John Nolen Drive reference a light pole down. A witness advised that a vehicle down the road was pulled over and had damage to it. The officers located the vehicle, after following the trail of anti-freeze and oil, and made contact with the driver/suspect (30 year old WF). The suspect was determined to have been drinking. She was arrested for Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated (first offense).