Hancock County law enforcement focusing on heroin ’emergency’

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HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. (Aug. 17, 2015)-- Law enforcement in yet another central Indiana county say they are dealing with a heroin epidemic. The Hancock County Sheriff's Department will add extra resources to try and cut out some of the drug use.

"It's an emergency," said Chief Deputy Brad Burkhart with the Hancock County Sheriff's Department.

Burkhart isn't mincing words. He said heroin's set up a home in Hancock County, and law enforcement has to fight it.

"It's kind of come to this point especially, with this heroin problem, that we really need to have a dedicated officer or more," he said.

And that's what he will get. Burkhart and others lobbied county leaders to free up funds. The county will pass $100,000 to the sheriff's department to cover added investigative costs and pay for a narcotics detective.

"We haven't been in the drug business. We haven't been in the dope business for a numbers of years," said Captain Jeff Rasche, who leads the investigative unit, "I think we're starting to see the fallout from that."

Rasche said the agency rarely does undercover buys, as drug investigations have become more time consuming. But he hopes that will change.

"It's really kind of hit us in the face the last year, or year and a half," he said.

Numbers provided by the Hancock County Sheriff's Department show the growing trend, with Hancock Regional Hospital reporting six overdose cases in 2013, 30 in 2014, and 12 by the first part of July in 2015.

Burkhart said Greenfield Police and other agencies will collaborate to try and put dealers behind bars.

"We're working with the Greenfield City Police on this. They're going to assist with an office to kind of form an investigation unit. And we're in talks with some other agencies here in the county," he said.

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