EATON — So far for 2017, City of Eaton Fire and EMS have had 57 heroin overdose responses. That number only counts through May and is significantly up from the total 29 responses in 2016, according to officials.
The Eaton Police Division is working with the Fire and EMS Division to find ways to combat the heroin problem in the county.
The situation was discussed during Eaton City Council’s meeting on Monday, June 19.
Police Chief Chad DePew provided council with a “snapshot” of the Eaton Police Division’s activity for the first five months of the year.
As for the Eaton Fire and EMS, their May report shows a combine response of 234 runs, 172 EMS responses — including 25 back up EMS calls — and 62 fire/rescue responses, including three general alarms. They received mutual aid one time and provided mutual aid two times.
In May, it was reported that April’s heroin overdose response numbers were significantly up from March at 17 (compared to March’s total of nine). For the month of May, that number did decrease — Fire and EMS responded to 10 overdose calls. For 2017 so far, there have been 57 heroin overdose responses.
In comparison, heroin overdose response for 2016 was a total of 29.
DePew added, “We started last month making our policy of all drug overdose calls being charged with disorderly conduct. There’s a section in there that allows us to do that. So, what it helps us do is, any drug overdose call we can also be around the property and it helps us get the nuisance violation as well.
“What we see in our community is the property owners and landlords, they’re very cooperative,” he said. “They very much want to be compliant with the nuisance ordinance. So, we don’t see a lot of push back. Generally, we serve them a letter saying that their property is close to being deemed a nuisance — a warning letter, that is the first thing we send out. That warning letter we give them 10 days to contact us for a nuisance plan, basically telling us what they are going to do about that nuisance.
“We don’t tell them what they have to do, generally they’ll file the eviction. We’re had pretty good success with the property owners working with us. We’ve found that most of them don’t want these problems in their properties. We’ve had, I believe, upwards of 10-12 cases this year. I think it’s been a pretty successful force.”
It’s a different story if the person owns the house. The nuisance ordinance is specifically for rental properties.
“We’ve discussed in the past other avenues than criminal charges,” DePew added. “Billing them for services, Fire and EMS. We looked at that years ago. The people might not have money if we do charge them — the nuisance ordinance is an asset in that situation.”
When the Nuisance Ordinance was first adopted, the city offered a training event to get people familiar with the regulations. At the time there were no takers, but there is hope now that word has gotten out and maybe there will be interest in such a program in the future.
In other police news, DePew shared that a few months ago they were able to obtain certification from the Ohio Collaborative Task Force. According to DePew, Governor John Kasich began the task force as a way to “bridge the gap” between community relations and law enforcement. He developed the task force to develop statewide standards throughout Ohio. These standards are for law enforcement to meet to better the community.
Eaton Police Division earned its certification a few months ago.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH