"Out of Mollie's death, there is a hope of saving lives, Chief." This is a quote from Chris Van Wagner, who has become a community activist on summoning up public discourse and awareness around the perils of addiction, specifically from heroin use. Chris is a prominent attorney in Madison who has graciously been letting us all enter into their family's difficult journey, by sharing the story of Mollie Van Wagner who was taken in by the throes of heroin addiction and how it eventually led to Mollie's death. (https://madison.com/news/local/obituaries/van-wagner-mollie-clare-peanut/article_e7a47f17-2e8d-5b93-b12c-c56f7cb74676.html .
My first contacts with Chris date back to 2014. I had decided to test pilot a program of administering Narcan/Naloxone through the hands of our front line practitioners. Heroin had begun to establish a stronger foothold in the community and I wanted to see if we could save lives by providing a stop gap measure of delivering a drug that could broker more time until MFD's highly trained paramedics could arrive (about 50% of the time MPD arrives at calls like these before MFD; thus, seconds can make a big difference). Our pilot program trained our street sergeants and then put the drug into their capable hands.
Within days of being trained, Sergeant Jeff Felt responded to a PNB (pulseless-non-breather) who turned out to be Mollie Van Wagner. Sgt. Felt had a timely intervention using his Narcan (naloxone) and Mollie survived this episode. Mollie's Dad-Chris, then sent me a letter which moved me greatly. This letter was one of the reasons that prompted expansion our program throughout the entire Department. This very same letter has been read dozens of time to over 600 MPD employees and countless neighborhood forums. The letter serves as exhibit "A" (Letter) as to why saving the lives of addicts---even those who have been saved on multiple occasions--matters and matters greatly to a community that is committed to compassion and caring.
When Mollie succumbed to an overdose about three weeks ago, my heart was broken for Chris, his wife Peggy, and their three other adult children. Amazingly, Chris incorporated their family's period of mourning into an opportunity for a teachable moment and a crusade of public awareness about addiction. This "calling" that has been divinely visited upon Chris has galvanized an almost evangelical response on his part---he is raising money for naloxone, speaking to groups, writing, answering phone calls, appearing in media stories---all with the hope of sparing others the heart ache that his own family endured as well as being a listening post for those who are currently dealing with this malady. MPD recently hosted him on one of our podcasts, which you can click and listen to here (http://feeds.feedburner.com/ChiefKovalsPodcast).
In but a few short weeks, Chris has directed about $10,000 in donations from Mollie's funeral to benefit the purchasing of more naloxone for our community. We are deeply grateful for this philanthropy, but I am even more beholden to Chris for his willingness to go anywhere, at any time, to share Mollie's story with any one person or group if it means that some individual(s) can benefit from understanding the complexities of addiction and to offer hope and encouragement.
The information contained in my blog is derived from notes provided by MPD Officers-In-Charge (OIC) at the end of their shifts. Most narratives represent early and preliminary information that was gathered by an OIC from those in the field who were actively working cases. The OIC is sharing what they were being told, in the moment. In many instances, facts and circumstances, even the type of crime listed, can change as officers, detectives and investigators continue their work.
From 6:00 a.m. on 10/17/2018 through 6:00 a.m. on 10/18/2018, MPD received 475 calls for service. This number does not include parking complaints or 911 misdials. For purposes of clarification, the following abbreviations are short-hand for race designations: W=White, AA=African American, NA=Native American, H=Hispanic, ME=Middle Eastern, A=Asian, MR=Mixed Race, U=Unknown. MPD shifts are staggered as follows: 1st detail=7 a.m. to 3 p.m., 2nd detail=12 p.m. to 8 p.m., 3rd detail=3 p.m. to 11 p.m., 4th detail=8 p.m. to 4 a.m., 5th detail=11 p.m. to 7 a.m.
To further break down the 475 calls for service for the past 24-hours this is how the calls came in per district: Central (86), East (94), Midtown (53), North (72), South (58), West (57), and Other (55). Other=these are calls for service that either do not have a sector listed or the sector is not in the City. For example, if one of our officers assists another law enforcement agency, their sector is not listed in our districts so therefore it is listed under "other".
**Priority calls only from 9:34pm-12:10am due to calls for service.
1) MIDTOWN: Missing Adult – 3:42 a.m. Officers responded to a midtown residence twice throughout the night for incidents (involving the same subjects). The first call made to dispatch was about two subjects who were arguing. When officers arrived only one subject (20-year-old WF) was on scene. Officers were contacted again several hours later after the second subject (21-year-old AAM) had not returned to the residence and there were concerns for his welfare. Areas checked. K9 track conducted. Attempt to locate aired. The male subject was ultimately listed as missing in the appropriate databases. Investigation continuing. * This was a late call that did not make the previous 24-hour cycle call notes due to officers being involved at the scene and reports from the field were not yet typed.
2) MIDTOWN: Information/Sexual Assault of a Child – 8:12 a.m. Officers received information from a local hospital that a parent had concerns about her child (2-year-old WF) being sexually assaulted by the child's father (35-year-old HM). The parent/mother brought her child to the hospital for an evaluation. Officers have not been contacted by the parent to report this incident. Investigation continuing.
3) SOUTH: Check Person – 8:52 a.m. Officers responded to a request to check the welfare of a subject (22-year-old UF). The subject was conveyed to a local hospital for an evaluation. The subject was left in the care of medical staff. No further action deemed necessary by the police at this time.
4) EAST: Armed Robbery – 10:38 a.m. Officers responded to the Kelley's Market on E. Washington Ave after a suspect (AAM) entered the store and demanded money. The suspect made it appear as if he may have a weapon in his pocket, although one was not displayed. The suspect fled. Incident Report on MPD's website completed. Investigation continuing.
5) EAST: Information/Sexual Assault of a Child – 2:13 p.m. Officers responded to a local hospital after a child/victim (4-year-old WF) was brought in by her mother with concerns that the child was sexually assaulted a few months ago by the mother's ex-boyfriend. Child Protective Services notified. The child no longer has contact with the alleged suspect. Investigation continuing.
6) MIDTOWN: Information/Sexual Assault of a Child – 2:42 p.m. Officers met with a victim (14-year-old HF) who reported being inappropriately touched by a suspect (35-year-old HM) years ago. Child Protective Services notified. Investigation continuing.
7) SOUTH: Armed Robbery – 2:51 p.m. Officers responded to an armed robbery in the KFC parking lot on Greenway Cross. The victim (36-year-old WM) reported that he was forced into a vehicle at gunpoint in the parking lot and robbed of cash and his cell phone. The victim was released, unharmed. The suspects (2 WMs, 1 WF) fled and are at-large. Incident Report on MPD's website completed. Investigation continuing.
8) NORTH: Weapons Offense/Armed Robbery – 4:26 p.m. Officers responded to the 2300 block of Columbus Lane for shots fired. Officers located a victim (36-year-old AAM) who reported being robbed by two suspects (23-year-old AAM and 20-year-old AAM). The victim reported that one of the suspects fired a round in his direction. The victim did not sustain any injuries. The involved parties are known to one another. Incident Report on MPD's website completed. Investigation continuing.
9) EAST: Aggravated/Substantial Battery – 8:52 p.m. Officers responded to the 3100 block of E. Washington Ave for a battery that occurred between two subjects (61-year-old AAF victim and 58-year-old AAM suspect). The victim and suspect were engaged in a verbal argument when the suspect struck the victim in the face. The victim suffered a broken nose, a chipped tooth and required 15 stitches. The suspect was arrested for substantial battery.
10) MIDTOWN: Attempted Homicide – 9:03 p.m. Officers responded to the 4500 block of Hammersley Rd for a report of a subject/victim (30-year-old AAM) shot. Aid was rendered to the victim and he was transported to a local hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries. Preliminary information indicates that robbery may have been the motive. Two suspects (AAMs) were involved and remain at-large. Incident Report on MPD's website completed. Investigation continuing.
11) WEST: Information/Child Abuse – 10:05 p.m. Officers responded to a local hospital regarding a child (6-year-old AAM) who was brought in by family with concerns that the child was sexually assaulted. The child has some special needs which will require additional resources to assist with the investigation. Investigation continuing.
12) NORTH: Armed Robbery – 2:35 a.m. Officers responded to a report of an armed robbery that occurred in the 1800 block of Browning Rd. The victim/cab driver (45-year-old AAM) was sent to an address to pick-up a subject. The subject/suspect (AAM) displayed a handgun and demanded money. The suspect fled on foot. Incident Report on MPD's website completed. Investigation continuing.