Mayor Tom Henry was joined Friday morning by representatives from the Lutheran Foundation and Fort Wayne Police Department to announce implementation of another portion of the city’s quality-of-life plan.
The plan, passed by Fort Wayne City Council in October, committed more than $3 million to city organizations and agencies with the commitment of making quality-of-life improvements around Fort Wayne. Half a million dollars of that was dedicated to combating the opioid crisis -- $200,000 went to Lutheran, while $300,000 went to the Fort Wayne Police Department.
Lutheran CEO Marcia Haaff has led local efforts within the statehouse to provide a greater and more effective funding stream to northeast Indiana in fighting the opioid epidemic. Haaff led the effort to launch Allen County’s Sober Living Pilot program, which began in July with the aim of reducing recidivism in drug offenses by providing greater access to treatment beds.
She says the $200,000 will serve a dual purpose, partly to help with establishing those residencies.
“It will also go towards funding operational expenses, because the state changed funding along the way and we want these to be sustainable,” Haaff said.
The $300,000 committed to the Fort Wayne Police Department will go to new drug testing equipment they say will keep it on the “cutting edge” of drug trends.
FWPD Captain Kevin Hunter says with this new equipment, testing seized materials for drugs can now be done instantly, instead of having to wait for a lab to report back which could take as long as a month.
“We can stay ahead of the curve of any new drug trend and educate the public about what those trends are, and hopefully this will also help save lives which will better our community in the long-run.”