By Gail Peckler-Dziki
Correspondent

Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley explained the two-pronged approach that Kenosha County is taking to tackle the opioid crisis.

He said Monday at the regular Twin Lakes Village Board meeting that the county has seen about 50 overdoses a year from heroin and pain pills.

“We have taken a very aggressive approach,” Gravely said. “We treat every over-dose death as a murder, and investigate it as such. They have been charged with reckless homicide.”

Michael Graveley

With the help of state police and federal officers, Graveley said they have been able to go across state lines and charge and jail suppliers.

“They may not have stepped foot into Twin Lakes,” he said, “but their product has killed folks here. And we have caught those from Twin Lakes who brought the substances here from other states.”

“We could arrest local drug users all day long,” Twin Lakes Police Chief Adam Grosz said. “Charging and jailing suppliers and runners interrupts the supply line.”

Graveley added, “We can’t jail our way out of this crisis, so we are employing diversion programs with those charged with simple possession.”

There is medical treatment that helps users lose the desire. In exchange for participating in treatment, simple possession charges will not be made.

“We are seeing some impact from this approach,” Graveley said, “but we are also dealing with deadly fentanyl.”

Graveley said there have been 17 reckless homicide cases that were prosecuted and won in the past few years.

School threats
A few years ago, Graveley convened a meeting with local police departments, school psychologists and social workers. He discovered that each person had his or her idea about who the next school shooter could be.

Since then, personnel involved in making decisions about how to gauge the seriousness of threats and when to close school have received training so they can better determine the best steps to take to protect students.

“A number of studies have been done, and the stereotype of a loner in a black trench coat is not a reliable stereotype,” Graveley said.

He said that the vast majority of school shooters are not loners, they are not necessarily victims of bullying and most had no police records.

“The thing these studies show that affects Twin Lakes,” Graveley explained, “is that 70 percent of school shootings occur in rural are-as.

“And 10 percent of students who bring guns to school to shoot classmates are 12 and under,” he added. “So this is not exclusively a high school problem.”

Graveley has visited Wilmot Union and Westosha Central high schools to share this information and was moving on to the grade schools soon.

Access west of I-94
“We want to make sure we provide as many services as we can to those living west of I-94,” Graveley said.

Pretrial meetings for things such as traffic tickets would be held at the Bristol county building, located at highways 50 and 45, in about a month. And services such as treatment for domestic batterers would be available west of I-94 soon.

“I want to compliment the Twin Lakes Police Department on the fine job they did on the Nathan Kivi murder trial,” Graveley said.

“Too often things like that go unnoticed, and I wanted to make sure that the village board knew how well they did in cooperation with other departments in securing the scene and participating in the trial.”

Kivi received two consecutive life sentences on June 3 for killing Richard and Kenneth Samuel at the Twin Lakes Beach Bar in November 2017.

 
 

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