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Chief Wahl's Blog

Opioid Abuse and MPD Notable Calls 01/27/2020 to 01/28/2020

January 28, 2020 9:31 AM


Madison, like many U.S. cities, has been facing a significant issue with opioid abuse over the last few years.  Distribution of high purity heroin and mixing heroin with other substances (like Fentanyl) have exacerbated the problem and resulted in spiking numbers of overdoses and overdose-related fatalities.  MPD officers responded to 246 heroin/opioid overdoses in 2019.  This is a reduction from 275 overdoses in 2018.  Note that these figures only include known overdoses that involved an MPD response; the actual number of overdoses occurring in the community is likely much higher. Twenty-nine overdoses in 2019 were fatal.  This is a reduction from the forty-two fatal overdoses that occurred in 2018.

MPD is working to address this epidemic in a number of ways:

  • Naloxone is a drug that can literally reverse the effects of an opioid-related overdose.  All MPD personnel carry Naloxone, and officers regularly administer it to individuals in the field.  Many of these subjects would die without this prompt intervention, and MPD's deployment of Naloxone has unquestionably saved lives.
  • For the last few years, MPD has been the lead agency for the Madison Addiction Recovery Initiative (MARI).  MARI focuses on offenders engaging in low-level criminal activity that is related to opioid addition.  Rather than face arrest and prosecution, these offenders are offered the opportunity to go through treatment for their addiction.  Those who successfully complete treatment and do not re-offend are never charged for the original offense, while those who do not follow-through or who re-offend are charged.  A number of offenders have successfully completed the program, receiving treatment for their addiction. 
  • Last year, MPD (in partnership with Dane County) applied for and received a federal grant to expand on MARI.  These funds will be used to create a team – including an MPD addiction resource officer – that can provide more intervention and treatment options to prevent overdose deaths and address opioid addiction.  The team should be up and running this summer.
  • For years, MPD has been an active partner with Safe Communities of Dane County.  One area of emphasis for Safe Communities is overdose prevention, and MPD has worked with them on a number of initiatives – like the Med Drop boxes at certain MPD district stations – to further this goal.




The information provided below about some of the calls officers responded to 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 01/27/2020 through 6:00 a.m. on 01/28/2020, MPD received 389 calls for service.  This number does not include parking complaints or 911 misdials.  A breakdown of the calls for service per district is as follows: Central (74), East (78), Midtown (52), North (61), South (49), West (44), and Other (31).  "Other" is used for calls that either do not have a sector or the sector is not in the City.  This would be used in the case of one of our officers assisting another law enforcement agency.  


**Priority calls only from 9:51 a.m. to 12:58 p.m. due to calls for service.

**Prioriity calls only from 7:18 p.m. 7:59 p.m. due to calls for service. 

WEST: Stolen Vehicle – 8:21 a.m.  Officers responded to a West district residence for a report of a stolen vehicle.  The vehicle was left running and unoccupied.  Attempt to locate aired.  The vehicle was listed as stolen in the appropriate databases.  **The vehicle was later occupied by two male juveniles.  The vehicle struck a snow bank on Watts Rd and the juveniles fled on foot.  The juveniles remain at-large. 

NORTH: Check Person – 10:31 a.m.  Officers responded to Commercial Avenue for a disturbance between two subjects (female victim and 17-year-old male suspect).  The suspect punched the victim and threatened to retrieve a gun.  The suspect was arrested for disorderly conduct, felony bail jumping and misdemeanor bail jumping.   

SOUTH: Check Person – 11:48 a.m.  Officers received a request to check the welfare of a possible suicidal subject (18-year-old female).  The subject was contacted by officers.  Family and Journey Mental Health plugged in.  The subject was conveyed to a local hospital with her family and voluntarily admitted.  Officers disengaged from the call.

NORTH: Disturbance – 12:45 p.m.  Officers responded to the intersection of N. Sherman/Trailsway for a road rage incident and made contact with the involved subjects.  No charges were substantiated from the incident; however the male subject/suspect (23-year-old male) was not supposed to have contact with the female subject who was also present.  The suspect was arrested for bail jumping and conveyed to jail. 

NORTH: Adult Arrested Person – 2:08 p.m.  Officers responded to the Mobile gas station on E. Washington Ave for an unwanted subject/suspect (54-year-old male).  The suspect was arrested for an active warrant, trespassing and possession of drug paraphernalia.

WEST: Domestic Disturbance – 2:22 p.m.  Officers responded to a West district residence for a domestic disturbance between two subjects (female victim and 28-year-old male suspect).  Probable cause was developed to arrest the suspect.  The suspect was arrested for domestic disorderly conduct (two counts) and strangulation.

EAST: Information – 2:28 p.m.  Officers met with a juvenile and his mother after it was reported that the juvenile made some concerning statements at school.  School resources plugged in.  Safety plan developed.  No charges have been substantiated at this time. 

WEST: Sexual Assault – 2:37 p.m.  Officers had phone contact with a female subject who reported being sexually assaulted at the end of 2019.  Investigation continuing.

NORTH: Check Person – 4:28 p.m.  Officers responded to a North district residence to check the welfare of a possible suicidal subject (34-year-old male).  The subject was conveyed to a local hospital and subsequently voluntarily admitted after consultation with Journey Mental Health.  The subject was left in the care of hospital staff.

CITY-WIDE: Assist Law Enforcement – 4:42 p.m.  Officers responded to assist Monona PD after a stolen vehicle that fled from their officers crashed and the driver/suspect (20-year-old male) attempted to flee on foot.  The suspect was apprehended, arrested and charged/cited for reckless driving and operating after revocation (2nd offense) by MPD.  Monona PD had additional charges for the suspect.

CENTRAL: Disturbance – 6:46 p.m.  Officers responded to E. Gorham Street for a disturbance among numerous subjects after two subjects were "shorted" on marijuana they purchased.  A verbal argument started which then escalated to a physical altercation.  A suspect punched another subject in the face. The primary suspect was not on scene when officers arrived and officers are attempting to identify him.  Investigation continuing. 

EAST: Attempted Robbery – 8:29 p.m.  Officers responded to the Citgo gas station on Milwaukee St after a suspect entered the store and demanded money.  The male suspect fled without obtaining any money.  Area canvassed.  Investigation continuing. 

MIDTOWN: Battery – 10:41 p.m.  Officers responded to a Midtown district residence for a disturbance between neighbors.  The suspect (29-year-old male) was intoxicated and yelling at his neighbors (two male subjects).  The suspect threatened his neighbors and slapped one of his neighbors.  The suspect was arrested for battery with a hate crime enhancer and disorderly conduct (two counts; domestic-related). 

Posted by: Chief Wahl

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