In February 2015, the rural Northern Illinois town of Dixon was rocked by three drug overdose deaths in 10 days.
Like most communities, Dixon had seen sporadic overdose deaths, but never so close together.
The town of approximately 16,000 immediately demanded something be done, with several stakeholders joining in to help.
After a few months of work, the Dixon Police Department unveiled its Safe Passage Initiative, a police deflection program that was only the second of its kind in the country.
Monroe County is contemplating a similar program.
Police deflection is when people are diverted away from the criminal justice system and into treatment if they have mental health or substance use issues.
“We cannot arrest our way out of this problem,” Dixon City Manager Danny Langloss told members of the Monroe County Criminal Justice Behavioral Task Force during a meeting last Wednesday at the courthouse in Waterloo.
“What we’ve done for years has failed,” he said. “If we were a private company we would have gone bankrupt and been out of business a long time ago.”
Langloss and DPD Detective Jeff Ragan talked about the initiative to the task force, which was created after Human Support Services and local officials attended a two-day training session in July to focus on strategic planning to reduce recidivism…>>>
Read more in the February 20, 2019, issue.
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