There is no disputing the fact that our children represent our future. Right now the children of Frederick County are at risk as our community is caught in the midst of a heroin epidemic.
The current problem should have been foreseen, the signs were there. The signs were ignored however this is not about finger pointing but about looking forward and saving our future.
We need to recognize this as a community health problem for which there are measures we can take to mitigate and solve the problem, but if we are going to be serious it must be a community effort. The philosophical underpinnings of community policing provide the perfect framework for bringing stakeholders together to face this challenge. The SARA problem solving model of scanning, analysis, response and assessment, used by police nationwide, is perfectly suited for this mission.
We must organize all stakeholders, not just a public meeting or two, or a task force, but all aspects of our community. We must organize police, educators, clergy, parents, students, business, medical community, social services, etc. Everyone has a role to play, a contribution to make. They all need to be at the table.
We must develop a comprehensive plan where all will be working in unison, not at cross purposes, not kingdom building or protecting turf. There must be an honest assessment of the nature and extent of the problem. There needs to be measurable goals and assigned responsibilities for achieving specific outcomes.
Now that school is out for the summer and our student population is looking to fill their day, often out of the sight of adult supervision, it is critical that we step up efforts to prevent, mitigate, and respond to the heroin abuse that is threatening our future, our children.
Karl Bickel, a retired Justice Department official, is the Democratic candidate for Frederick County Sheriff. You can learn more at http://www.frederickcountysheriff.com