Grants Totalling $3-Million Coming To Local Police Agencies To Fight Heroin

One of the local agencies is the Frederick Police Department.

Frederick, Md (KM)  The Frederick Police Department is one of several law enforcement agencies around the state which are receiving some of the $3-million in grant money to help fight the heroin problem.

The local agency is receiving $63,000 to hire a heroin coordinator. “It will allow us to have one person on staff that would be responsible for collecting and reviewing any data related to heroin cases, whether they be overdoses, case investigations, anything to do with heroin,” says Lt. Bruce DeGrange. “And they would sift through that information and work in conjunction with our crime analysts to pull out the data that would be useful in investigations–either ongoing or future–and obviously upload some of that information into databases with HIDTA, and also help to make tactical decision for our deployment of officers on our end.”

HIDTA stands for High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

Lt. DeGrange  says part of the heroin coordinator funds would also  be used to purchase some cellphone forensic equipment.

In addition, the Frederick Police Department is receiving $232,366 as part of the Safe Street Initiative, a grant Lt. DeGrange says the agency has been receiving for a few years. It would pay for “our safe streets coordinator’s salary. It also covers one of our crime analyst’s salaries. And also gives us a pot of money that we can use for specialized enforcement operations to cover overtime for officers, so that that money doesn’t come out of the Police Department’s budget,” says Lt. DeGrange. He also there’s a pot of money that is shared with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office and the Brunswick and Thurmont Police Departments to help them cover overtime costs for officers for  specialized enforcement operations.

The Safe Streets Initiative grant also contains money to cover the cost of hiring and employing a peer recovery specialist. “That would be someone that would help  addicts, people who have overdosed, anything along those lines, to try to get them into the appropriate programs and seek support through the various agencies and programs that are available,” says Lt. DeGrange. “They would work closely with the Health Department here in the county as well as Frederick Memorial Hospital.”

Both of these positions support the recommendations from the Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force. The panel released its report following a series of summits around the state where citizens described first hand the affects of heroin on their communities, according to a statement from the Governor’s Office. Officials say the recommendations from the Task Force describe a holistic approach to the heroin problem that includes tracking down drug traffickers, protecting young people from getting involved with illegal drugs and providing treatment and other resources for those struggling with substance abuse.

Lt. DeGrange says heroin is a big problem locally. “It’s problematic throughout the state and we have had some deaths related to overdoses within the city limits, which is what we deal with primarily. But county wide, it’s becoming a bigger issue as well. It doesn’t just affect the city; it affects the entire county,” he says.