U.S. Attorney and Onondaga County District Attorney Hold Roundtable Meeting with Police Commanders on Prosecuting Heroin Overdose Deaths
Prosecutors Confer with Police on Investigating Drug Death Cases
SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Federal and Onondaga County prosecutors held a Law Enforcement Executive Roundtable meeting today with local and New York State police agencies to discuss policies and procedures for investigating drug overdose deaths and prosecuting those responsible for them, announced United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian and Onondaga County District Attorney William J. Fitzpatrick.
The meeting was held in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York in Syracuse. Among the topics discussed were the elements of available criminal charges under federal and state law for distribution of a controlled substance that results in death or serious physical injury. Prosecutors, Chiefs of Police, and command level law enforcement supervisors discussed investigative techniques, evidence handling, coordination with federal law enforcement agencies, and consultation with prosecutors during the current opioid drug and heroin epidemic. Local agencies are the first responders for drug overdoses and their officers frequently administer Narcan (naloxone), an antidote that will temporarily counteract the effects of lethal opioid drug ingestion. Local police agencies also spearhead criminal investigations of drug overdose deaths during the critical initial phase where evidence is gathered and witnesses interviewed.
Attendees heard a presentation from Onondaga County Medical Examiner Dr. Robert Stoppacher, whose office is vital to the investigation of homicide cases under both federal and state law.
In addition to the United States Attorney’s Office and the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office, command level executives from the following law enforcement agencies participated in today’s meeting:
United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
New York State Police
Syracuse Police Department
Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office
Town of Dewitt Police Department
Town of Manlius Police Department
Town of Cicero Police Department
Village of Baldwinsville Police Department
Town of Camillus Police Department
New York State University Police
Town of Geddes Police Department
Village of Liverpool Police Department
Village of Skaneateles Police Department
Village of North Syracuse Police Department
Village of Solvay Police Department
There will be further coordination between police and prosecutors on this important criminal justice/public health initiative in the future.