Meeting Minutes – August 2019

Date:
August 26, 2019

Attendees

Chad Bell
Debbie Kling
Dave Bieter
Nathan Leigh
Gheen Christoffersen
Stan Ridgeway
Tom Dale
Joe Stear
John Evans
Darin Taylor
Brad Holton

Guests and Staff

Shawn Bailey – Bailey & Associates
Chris Booker – HIBTA SAUSA
Bart Davis – U.S. Attorney for Idaho
Rafael Gonzales – First Assistant U.S. Attorney for Idaho
Lana Graybeal – City of Boise
Alex Klempel – TVP SAUSA Program
Jodi McCrosky – Project Coordinator, City of Boise (Opioid Program)
Bill Larsen – TVP

Welcome and Introductions

Mayor Dave Bieter opened the meeting and welcomed everyone to the Boise International Airport.

Open Discussion

Suicide Rates

Dave indicated he had a conversation with Ada County Coroner, Dotti Owens. During the conversation, she talked about suicides. 70% of the suicides she sees in Ada County are men, ages 45-50. The indication is these suicides are relationship oriented and are not necessarily related to drug use or the economy. He really didn’t know what that means, but it is a statistic we need to pay attention to.

Dave indicated we have this community kindness effort that is occurring around the valley. This effort has some good things. He indicated he and his staff are working on this and are trying to generate some additional ideas on what they might try to do. At some point, he would like to bring Dotti in and have a discussion around this topic.

It was agreed that Canyon County TVP members were going to talk to the Canyon County Coroner to see if they had similar indicators.

Chad said he thought Idaho ranked high as a state for suicide rates. A few members indicated the State was in the top three per capita.

Gheen indicated that in Owyhee County, he thinks the age grouping for suicides is younger but will check with the Owyhee County Coroner.

Dave indicated he is having a follow up meeting with Dottie and will work with Bill to bring her in at a future time.

School Impact Fees

Joe asked how everyone felt about pushing the legislature so that schools can collect impact fees. Tom said he has been pushing this for a number of years and has gotten absolutely no support from any legislators. There is no greater nexus for the need for new schools than the number of new houses being built in the community.

Joe indicated whenever he has discussed this with a legislator, the response is….so would schools be willing to give up some of their bonding authority? Why would they do that? He continued that maybe we should have an “impact fee 101 session” for the legislature so they understand the issue.

SAUSA Program Update

U.S. Attorney for Idaho, Bart Davis indicated he and Dave Bieter have known each other for more than 20 years. They served in the legislature together. He introduced Rafael Gonzales who has been with them for more than 10 years. He also introduced their Special Assistant US Attorneys, Alexis Klempel and Chris Booker.

Alexis is serving as the Treasure Valley Gang SAUSA and came to them from Kootenai County. Chris Booker is the HIDA SAUSA and comes from Ada County.

He stated he was with the Idaho Legislature when they first started dealing with State funding for the Treasure Valley SAUSA when we were going after the gang violence in the valley. This program is something that the members of the Partnership should be proud of. It has made a tremendous difference.

He mentioned the Opioid crisis in Idaho is real and is prevalent in every portion of our State. He has met virtually every County Prosecutor in the State and they have different versions of the crisis but are all fighting the crisis. We need to reduce the amount of opioid scripts that are out there, not just the illicit production and trafficking of opioids.

They have an Opioid Coordinator in their office named David Robbins who is on Governor Little’s task force.

Rafael indicated they had two SAUSA’s in their office. Alexis is funded by the Partnership and the State. Chris’s position is funded through HIDA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) which is a program administered by the White House through the office of National Drug Control Policy. This program is a new program that focuses on drug trafficking.

In Idaho, since 2014, crimes against society, which drug trafficking is part of, have risen 53.8%. Drug filings out of their office have risen 124%. Looking at drug seizures across the State, Marijuana is still the king, but Meth remains high. Last year, ISP reported 242 lbs. of Meth were seized and 19 lbs. of heroin were seized. In the rural areas, Meth is the No. 1 drug threat.

One thing they are seeing now is the illicitly produced synthetic opioids (fentanyl) that is finding its way into the opioid market. Fentanyl is 100 times more potent than heroin. It takes just a few granules to cause an overdose. When you are mixing fentanyl with heroin, the margin for error is small and the increase in fatality is extremely high.

Alex said they are holding steady with the number indictments. The Metro Taskforce is in the process of wrapping up a bunch of investigations and she anticipates at least a dozen indictments this fall. Most of her indictments involving drugs involve Meth. That is because the federal sentences under Meth are larger than under the State.

Heroin coming into the State is following the same routes as Meth. With Meth, it is manufactured in Mexico and brought into California and Arizona and someone from Idaho drives down to pick it up. It is often gang members and they don’t discriminate between Meth and Heroin trafficking.

Chris wanted to provide a snapshot on the drug situation in the Treasure Valley. The HIDA program allows federal funds to flood into the area for Federal, State and local agencies. The funds are used for personnel, training and equipment.

Each year the HIDA Program creates an annual report and threat assessment. From the report, $139 million in drugs, cash and assets were seized. $17 million was in cash and assets.

Law enforcement officers say Meth is the number one drug threat facing our communities. Meth is the drug most likely to lead to violent crime and property crime and has the biggest impact on case load. Another statistic indicates Idaho ranks 9th in the nation for Meth use by those 12 years old and older. Oregon ranks 2nd. For other drugs, Idaho ranks at or below the national average.

In Idaho, deaths attributed to Meth are 4 in 100,000 in population.

In his experience, virtually all of the Meth and Heroin come from Mexico through Cartel’s. The Meth coming from Mexico is extremely pure. We are way beyond the days where it is being cooked locally.

A pound of Meth on the street will cost $4 – $6,000. 10 years ago, it would have cost $16,000.

He stated that the local, State and Federal partnerships are extremely crucial and helpful. Bart added that in our region, law enforcement agencies work collaboratively. That is not true in other parts of the country. The TVP and its member jurisdictions are to be congratulated in this effort.

Dave indicated from his perspective; gang activity seems to be on a downturn. Alex said this is true when it comes to violent gang activity. They are still dealing drugs like crazy, but the violence has lessened.

TV Opioid Program Web Proposal

Jodi McCrosky indicated in June they kicked of their second year of the Treasure Valley Opioid Strategic Plan and have had some successes.

  • A save-a-life flier has been developed and distributed throughout the valley.
  • The Lead (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) Program has been developed and instituted. It sends opioid offenders to treatment instead of jail. They have had 10 participate in the program. Four of the candidates have failed in that they stopped going to treatment and have since have had their charges routed to the prosecutor’s office. She has had conversations with many Chief’s around the State and feels that Canyon County will be developing a program soon.
  • A School District Opioid Drug Education program has been developed and they have reached all 8th and 11th graders in the Boise School District. For this program, a toolkit has been developed and distributed to school districts throughout the valley.
  • St. Al’s has developed a program to create a soft hand-off to a treatment program for those that come into their facility as a result of an overdose. All indication is that St. Luke’s will be following through with a program of their own.

One of the changes they made going into the second year was eliminating a paid facilitator from the project. They felt that the working groups were working well and there was no need for a facilitator going forward.

Also, for the second year, they reduced the number of focus areas (working groups) from five to three. Going forward, there will be three working groups. They are 1) Treatment and Intervention, 2) Education and Prevention – Medical, and 3) Education and Prevention – Public. She asked that we continue to get representation from the member jurisdictions on the Opioid Strategic Planning effort.

Jodi wanted the Partnership to support an extranet program. This extranet program would enable work groups to work on development of pieces of the strategic plan. They have been cobbling together a variety of programs and resources to enable work groups to develop documents of the implementation plan.

Dave asked if there were any new numbers on the opioid problem. Jodi indicated she would be meeting with Dotti Owens and a few others to see what they can do to generate good numbers. Currently, there is not a reliable source for updated numbers. What she has seen so far is that we did have a slight increase in the number of opioid deaths. However, the good news is that as a percentage of population, the percentage of opioid deaths per population has dropped.

Bill stated that the extranet request is an opportunity for the Partnership to support, through our web host, the sharing of files and data among the Opioid Program subgroups. He introduced the TVP Webhost, Shawn Bailey.

Shawn said the request is on the table for them to implement an Office 365 Extranet through Sharepoint. It would allow real-time document collaboration through all the subgroup partners. The cost for the year to provide this service would be $1,080.00.

John moved to add $1,080 to the FY19-20 budget for this Sharepoint service. Chad seconded. Motion passed.

Joe moved, Chad seconded to approve the minutes and financial report. Motion passed.