With ‘majority’ of cases linked to drug addiction, Marysville Police Department offers path to recovery

When it comes to property crimes, Marysville police say the majority of their cases are linked to drug addiction.

"Drugs and crime go hand in hand. Our department is working on the accountability piece as well as the compassion piece. We are working to get people the treatment they need," said Detective Sergeant Wallace Forslof of MPD’s Property Crimes Unit.

Officers have partnered with an embedded social worker to try to get people the addiction and mental health treatment they need.

The mission of the Law Enforcement Embedded Social Worker (LEESW) program is to help clients navigate the complex social service system and to remove the barriers that exist between addiction, homelessness and mental health issues to sobriety and housing.

The program has had promising success. Since 2018, the team has contacted 2,868 people. 472 of those accepted help and many now have jobs and housing.
Officer Mike Buell and Rochelle long, a mental health counselor have spent the last five years working together to change lives.

They call the people they contact their clients. They will meet them anywhere, on the street, in a camp or even in jail if someone is ready to get clean.

It’s about showing empathy and compassion.

"Personally, I have a daughter who is a heroin addict, so it hit close to home for me," said Officer Buell.

Heroin is rare to see nowadays. Now, it's all meth and fentanyl laced pills called blues ripping lives apart.

The newest ones are mixed with Valium and Xanax making them even more deadly.

Not even Narcan will work to bring them back in some cases.

Rochelle says the biggest hurdle for their clients to accept help is their fear of getting sick.

Many of their clients are dealing with mental health issues as well as drugs.

"All of our clientele have a story and I want to hear their story. They’re human beings, and they should be treated as such, and I have a lot of compassion for them," said Long.

It's all about building trust with them because every time they succeed in getting someone off the street, they give that person a future as a healthy and productive member of the community.