Battling the Heroin Epidemic

By on March 20, 2018

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office partners with the Rochester Police Department 

Save Lives. That was the directive issued by Sheriff Todd Baxter when establishing the Incident Command Post.

The Incident Command Post has been established in the Rochester Police department to house a central location for the Heroin Task Force efforts. In response to the deadly opioid epidemic, the Monroe County Sheriff’s office and the Rochester Police Department have created this post to combine the efforts of local law enforcement agencies to help bring timely resources to the community.

According the Monroe County Sheriff Department the Incident Command Post will result in the distribution of real-time actionable data that allows police agencies to search for patterns and trends that will lead to long-term investigations and the successful prosecution of heroin dealers and suppliers. Daily reports are turned into tangible assignments that are distributed at the Command Post briefing each morning. These reports are based upon incidents that occurred the previous evening. A law enforcement officer or service provider is assigned and tracked. Lieutenant Andrew Delyser, Commander for the Post, reports directly to the Chief Deputy Michael Fowler on all Command Post matters and receives his direction from Sheriff Baxter, District Attorney Doorley, RPD Chief Ciminelli, and Monroe County Public Safety Director Robert Burns. This collaborative effort also includes County Crime Analysis Field Intelligence Officers as well as several other non-governmental agencies.

According to Lt. Delyser, the Command Post, started in early February, is positioned to provide three primary services including:

• Act as a Law Enforcement Agency to identify dealers, arrest them and reduce the amount of drugs in our community.

• To provide education to the community. The role of educating the community is critical according to Delyser.  With the goal of saving lives, one of the most effective ways to do this is by helping to prevent addiction by educating the community most at risk – high school students that face heavy peer pressure.

• Providing treatment assistance to those who experienced an opioid related incident. Although a non-traditional role of law enforcement, the Command Post is on the front lines in this war and will provide intercession with opioid related incidents and overdoses. They can now take the opportunity to connect an individual with an addiction disorder with treatment within the first 24-36 hours. The Heroin Task Force is working closely with treatment providers, inpatient facilities, local hospitals and recovery groups to help foster the individual onto the path of recovery. “Strike while the iron is hot is critical, otherwise if we don’t get them into help ASAP they are likely to change their mind on getting help,” Lt. Delyser said. In addition to providing resources to the person with the addiction disorder, the Command Post can also help connect families to support services.

According to Sheriff Todd Baxter, “The Monroe County Heroin Task Force and Opioid Command Post are committed to responding from every angle within the critical first 24-36 hours of an opioid incident. We can’t afford not to. Lives depend on it.”

The county also recently launched a new tab on their website for the Heroin Task Force which has a map showing the numbers and locations of overdoses in Monroe County for the year and month. According to Lt. Delyser the statistics are more readily available than ever before thanks to a form all agencies use for overdoses.  The data is captured and reviewed by MCAT and can now be seen on the new site maps. For more information visit https://www2.monroecounty.gov/sheriff-heroin-task-force