Drug usage appears static, but enforcement arrests increase in Roseville

Eastpointe sees drop in arrests, though enforcement remains constant

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published October 14, 2015

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EASTPOINTE — Despite being neighboring cities, Eastpointe and Roseville are seeing somewhat different numbers when it comes to drug arrests compared to last year.

Police in Roseville believe the drug usage rates in the city have not changed since last year, but arrests have gone up due to increased enforcement, according to Police Chief James Berlin.

Berlin said that as of Sept. 30, 2014, the department had made 215 drug-related arrests; this year, that number has climbed to 308 arrests.

“We’ve recognized the problem with heroin, and we’re concentrating on that very heavily,” Berlin said. “We’ve also done a lot more hiring, so there are more officers out there making more arrests, which are getting our numbers up.”

He said there are problems with heroin across the metro area, and the increase in arrests is part of a countywide effort to crack down on the drug. A massive multi-department sting operation that took place in June also contributed to the increase in arrests, Berlin said.

Prescription drugs are also an issue, one that Roseville police are trying to combat by working with pharmacies to stop prescription fraud and doctor shopping, which occurs when a person gets the same prescription from multiple doctors. In that latter instance, Berlin said police alert the doctors to the scheme.

Even with all the arrests, however, Berlin said the goal is not to just throw everyone in jail. He said that, if possible, police want to help people get off the drugs and back to living their lives.

“The drug enforcement thing is a comprehensive effort,” he said. “We’re working with courts and rehab agencies, trying to get these people into programs to get them off their drug of choice. It’s more than just arrest them and throw them in a cell.”

Organizations such as Macomb County Mental Health, rehabilitation clinics and the “drug court” diversion program — which will drop charges if the suspect can finish a “very tough” rehab program — are all key components, Berlin said.

In Eastpointe, arrest rates have dropped from the end of September in 2014 to the end of September in 2015.

The city saw 256 arrests for controlled substance violations and 23 for narcotic equipment violations in 2014.

In contrast, Eastpointe has had 217 controlled substance arrests in 2015, along with 20 narcotic equipment arrests. Deputy Police Chief Eric Kaiser said drug enforcement has not changed since 2014, and the department does not know why the number has dropped slightly.

“We haven’t done an analysis why, but there are many factors that could relate to that,” Kaiser said. “Eastpointe is a small city, and people who buy drugs in Detroit can drive around it by taking the freeway or Groesbeck when they know we’re out.”

Kaiser said he is pleased that the numbers seem to be going down, and is hoping this means fewer people within the city are using illegal drugs such as heroin. He added that while Eastpointe participated in the countywide sting operation from June, he did not know what impact that had on the city’s arrest numbers so far this year.