Sheriff Says Department Is Shifting Priorities For Heroin Problem

By Alex Haglund

Heroin is not at epidemic proportions yet in Washington County said Sheriff Danny Bradac during a report on the Sheriff’s Department’s 2015 to the Washington County Board at their Tuesday February 9 meeting, but said, “the fact is, heroin is here.”

“We have taken notice of it. The coroner has taken notice of it. And we are shifting our priorities to do something about it,” Bradac said.

Earlier in the meeting, Bradac gave his monthly report and stated that there were 16 county inmates that his department was holding, a number he said could be explained by the drug issues and by local law enforcement shifting its priorities to counter it.

For overall law enforcement efforts in 2015, Bradac reported that his department handled:

• 260 crimes against persons

• 266 crimes against property

• 287 traffic accidents

• 355 suspicious activities

• 138 domestic disputes

• 17 death investigations

• 240 prisoners transported

• 63 sex offenders registered

• 204 other civil matters

• 122 felony arrests

• 129 misdemeanor arrests

• 126 warrant arrests

• 71 drug arrests.

Bradac also gave a few statistics for what has happened so far in 2016, when he said there have been:

• 22 felony arrests

• 11 misdemeanor arrests

• 12 drug arrests

These figures were, “prior to tonight,” said Bradac. “I know there has been an arrest yet today, on drugs.”

“We are doing what we can to do something about the heroin, and it’s not just the heroin, there are are always other drugs. Nor is it a problem of epidemic proportions,” Bradac said.

The board asked Bradac how Washington County compared to its neighbors when it came to heroin and other issues and he said that, “it’s kind of like comparing apples to oranges. I have always thought that we are the gem of southern Illinois as far as counties go,” Bradac said, saying that each of the neighboring counties had issues that far exceeded those of Washington County.

“We are in a bubble here,” Bradac said, “we are very fortunate to live in a place like this. That’s my concern though. When you live in a place like this and you start to see some of those numbers show that you’re having a little bit more of an influx of drugs, it’s a reason to jump on it and do something about it now before our bubble bursts.”

Bradac also told the board that the emblem which is displayed on the county flags at the courthouse and the judicial center would not be emblazoning the side of the new patrol vehicles which the Sheriff’s Department has on the road.