My plan to address the Opioid crisis involves several areas that I intend to enhance if elected.
1. Education: Provide training at no cost to the public quarterly for parents on what to look for regarding the early signs of opioid and or substance abuse. This training will be hosted at no cost to citizens and provided by Sheriff’s Office personnel. Additionally, the Sheriff’s Office will provide the public general response educational training on what to expect when LE is called to deal with Opioid related incidents.
2. Develop a Multiple Discipline Team (MDT): Team would be compromised of law enforcement, prosecutors, mental health professionals, defense attorneys, substance abuse counselors, faith-based organizations, and social services. This team would meet once a month to discuss trends, and ideas to combat this crisis. Through collaboration with the group define and implement a plan on how we respond to overdoses, treatment options, and post treatment community/group support.
3. Narcan: Continue with the current practice of training and issuing deputies Naloxone (Narcan) that has already been implemented by the current administration and has been effective. If funding for this runs out via grants look for other ways to fund it such as possible using asset forfeiture funds.
4. Employment Opportunities: Identify and develop partnerships with businesses that would be willing to partner with us to provide job opportunities for individuals who successfully complete treatment programs and can begin employment for a path way back into the community that will enable them to be successful. We would also want for these people to be education providers to their communities through partnership with RACSB and the Sheriff’s Office.
5. Treatment: If elected I intend to explore the option of setting aside a portion of each asset forfeiture for education, and treatment of addicts who are either arrested and or seek out help especially if they are indigent and do not have the resources to pay for treatment facilities. I cannot think of any better way to utilize these asset forfeitures that are seized by dealers who profit off of society by distributing this poison to our community.
6. Enforcement: The Special Investigations Unit is tasked with drug enforcement, gang investigations, and other vice investigations. They are being supplemented by members of the Special Problems Unit whose initial creation was not designed to conduct narcotics investigations. However, due to the opioid epidemic they have had to focus their attention on this crisis. While I know the exact numbers of what the unit is comprised of, I will not reveal that number to the general public for operational reasons. If elected I intend to have the Special Problems Unit members dissolve and be funneled into the Special Investigations Unit, which will be split up into three separate sections within that unit. Additionally, a full time Crime Analyst will be added to this unit. The Analyst will enhance the unit’s capability by creating databases to input data of victims, link to drug trends in community, and tracking current and last drug cases. Conducting analysis on data dumps from Forensic Analysis of sized electronic devices. An analyst trained with appropriate software programs is a key asset for the investigators. The sections are as noted below.
A. Major Narcotics Section: This section will work long term major narcotics investigations that include multi-jurisdictional targets, Overdoses (fatal/non-fatal) and will be responsible for complex conspiracy investigations regarding narcotics, human trafficking, Organized Crime and firearms trafficking. This unit will partner with a Federal and State Task Force addressing these various issues. Detectives will be assigned on a full-time and some on a part-time basis.
B. Special Enforcement Section: This section will be responsible for crimes related to street level narcotics violations, prostitution, illegal weapons possessions, commercial burglaries, robberies, assaults, and the apprehension of dangerous criminals and wanted suspects. The goal of this section is to disrupt and prevent street level criminal activity to improve the quality of life for our citizens. One member of this section will be sent full time to the United States Marshal’s Service Fugitive Task Force. This section will work and partner closely with the Virginia State Police, adjacent local law enforcement agencies and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS).
C. Gang Investigations Section: A detective will be placed on the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force not only to address gang activity, but also gang prevention education and outreach programs to our youth. Although only one detective will be assigned initially this is an incredible force multiplier and the Task Forces reputation and accomplishments speak for themselves.
7. Criminal Justice reform: Advocate on-demand access to medication-assisted treatment for incarcerated individuals and those under community supervision. Support consistent implementation of Good Samaritan laws that are designed to encourage and protect individuals to help victims who are overdosing. Partnering with the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office and State legislators to pass laws that will enable law enforcement to hold dealers accountable for providing the drugs that lead to fatal overdoses.
I have “Boots on the Ground” Experience in combating the Opioid Crisis, but this is a scourge that has hit many families in our area. I’m not too proud to say that we are in uncharted waters, as what has occurred up til now has not worked, which is why you see my plan is a different approach to the reactive status quo. Please feel free to comment, provide feedback or offer your own thoughts and suggestions, as WE ARE IN THIS FIGHT TOGETHER.