A group of Calhoun County law enforcement agencies and non-law enforcement partners are working together through the Battle Creek Police Department Fusion Center to try to better address drug use and overdoses.
The Fusion Center is an intelligence and resource center in which the BCPD works with other agencies, allowing all to better share information and act on issues more quickly.
In the last two weeks alone, Calhoun County has seen 26 confirmed drug overdoses, resulting in four deaths. Most of those involved heroin and opiate pain medications. In that time, law enforcement agencies partnered on six operations targeting heroin, during which several arrests were made.
Police say it’s difficult to obtain accurate statistics because, if an overdose victim ends up at the hospital without police involvement, the incident is treated primarily as a medical situation, without police notification, which is appropriate. However, area law enforcement and the Calhoun County Public Health Department will work closely with medical providers to collect the data necessary to better understand the scope of this developing epidemic. Law enforcement agencies also are working to improve best practices in responding to these incidents.
In the past, if police respond to an overdose victim and that person appears stable with medical assistance at the scene, officers typically would not file a report. Officers now plan to file those reports, for information only, at every such incident and include interviews of the victim and associates to determine where the substance came from and what exactly it was.
“We’re trying to fully understand the problem so that we can respond appropriately,” said BCPD Sgt. Jeff Case.