CRISFIELD — The national increase in overdose-related deaths is being felt in Crisfield as Police Chief David Dalfonso reported there were seven overdoses for the third quarter of this calendar year — two of them fatal.
The number who died is the same as the second quarter when there were 10 overdoses, but consider there were zero cases from January through March.
"During the summer, we were going through some Narcan," Chief Dalfonso said of the naloxone-based nasal spray that helps opioid-overdose sufferers breathe. He also said there was a lot of fentanyl use, referring to the powerful synthetic opioid which is similar to morphine but up to 100 times more potent.
"Per capita, it’s high," he said, and while in Salisbury "it’s much worse" in Crisfield "it impacts us because we’re such a small town and everybody knows everybody."
He received from the Somerset County Health Department a $4,000 grant for opioid enforcement as the CPD is part of the Somerset County Opioid United Team (SCOUT).
Smaller grants of $2,500 and $1,500 were also received from the Health Department for alcohol and tobacco compliance checks, respectively, with four drug arrests reported in the last quarter.
Coming soon is a K-9 which will be used for drug detection and human tracking. The chief said Pfc Greg Wetzel will be the handler, and training is expected to start in January.
Seized funds and donations — plus a $5,000 grant from the Health Department — will be used to finance the new addition as the chief does not want the costs of the dog to be a burden on the city’s budget.
From July 1 through September 30 there were 4,176 calls for service. The chief reported serious charges included one each first degree assault, rape, and child sex offense, plus there were nine common law assaults with 109 adults arrested — 44 for traffic offenses including six for DUI.
Chief Dalfonso said the runaway case from September which ended with the teen being found four days later has been turned over to the State Police for further investigation.
He also said he is looking forward to consistent success when trespassing cases are prosecuted in court for offenders found at the Crisfield Housing Authority. The memorandum of understanding between the CPD and CHA is now fully-signed and in place.
"There’s been no community or jurisdiction that I’ve ever experienced that’s been as aggressive toward trespassing as we have," the chief said. While police can’t deny someone the right to be in the city, the CHA is unique as a federally-designated area where residents and visitors with passes are allowed but others can be arrested for trespassing.
"I think we’re making progress," the chief said, and called CHA Executive Director Don Bibb "an excellent partner."