GRPD detectives pursue pushers after fatal ODs

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Less than a week ago, the Grand Rapids  Police Department started devoting more resources to fighting the opioid  epidemic, and the agency says it’s already getting results.

GRPD is assigning an additional detective to each overdose death case  to focus exclusively on finding out where the drugs came from and  hunting down the dealer.

The new procedure was put in place Oct. 10. On Monday, one alleged  drug dealer arrested as a result of the change was charged and now faces  life in prison.

Larry Perryman is believed to have supplied 31-year-old Joshua VanEssen of Kentwood with heroin. VanEssen’s family said he overdosed and died  Oct. 12 in the bathroom of the downtown Rapid bus station.

GRPD said officers tracked down Perryman and arrested him the same day.

“As a result of the new policy,” GRPD Lt. Terry Dixon specified.

Before Oct. 10, GRPD sent one detective to a fatal overdose and that  detective would focus on how the person died. But now, a second  detective is sent to any suspected overdose death to pinpoint the source  of the drugs.

“We have a serious issue with opioid deaths that have taken place, so  we are not going to just stand around, sit and be complacent with this  issue. We have taken proactive steps,” Dixon said.

VanEssen’s family was too emotional to speak on camera Monday, but  his parents told 24 Hour News 8 off camera that they support the new  procedure and hope it deters the flow of drugs in West Michigan.

Full Story on WOODTV8

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