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Local police fighting heroin

Jan. 14, 2014

Two men have been charged with reckless homicide in connection with Luke Pulsifer's June 11 lethal overdose of heroin. Elm Grove police tracked them down through text messages, call records and interviews.

According to the criminal complaint, Pulsifer texted the Milwaukee man suspected of selling him the heroin, Marquis Williams, at 9:51 p.m. June 10. Williams told him to meet him on the south side of Milwaukee.

Pulsifer also texted Cody Schoos, a 22-year-old Elm Grove resident, asking if he still rode "the horse" and if he could get a ride to get some "dubs," according to the complaint. Schoos agreed to drive, if Pulsifer would give him a portion of the drugs.

Schoos said the two then drove to an alley near National Avenue and 37th Street to buy the heroin, Pulsifer injected it and they drove back to Elm Grove, the complaint alleges. Schoos dropped Pulsifer off at his parents' house, where he died sometime between when he got home about 12:50 a.m. June 11 and when his mom tried to wake him at 11 a.m.

Schoos and Williams are both charged with first-degree reckless homicide.

They aren't the only two people local police have arrested in relation to heroin.

Since Luke's death, two Elm Grove residents were arrested for possession of heroin in 2013. In a Nov. 5 incident, police found heroin loaded in five syringes stuffed in an infant's car seat in an Elm Grove woman's car, Elm Grove Police Assistant Chief Jason Hennen said.

Before last year, arrests for heroin possession were more of a rarity in Elm Grove, Hennen said, with one arrest each in 2012, 2010 and 2007.

City of Brookfield Police Capt. Phil Horter said he doesn't keep a count, but he is sure he has seen more cases of heroin use and possession in the last five years than in the previous 22 years he worked with the department combined.

In 2013, law enforcement officers in Waukesha County topped all but Milwaukee County for sending the most samples of suspected heroin to the Wisconsin State Crime Lab for testing and prosecution, with 107. This number, too, is growing, surpassing 83 submissions in 2012, 70 in 2011, and numbers in the 30s for the three years before that.

The arrests only scratch the surface of the problem, Hennen said, because it's often difficult to catch someone red-handed with heroin.

"Most often what we run into is the heroin user buys a small amount and uses it immediately so you're left with the paraphernalia, like a syringe, which can be used for multiple legitimate medical purposes," he said.

Another way Hennen and Horter said police see the impact is in burglaries, car entries and other crimes, where police find people desperate for money to satisfy their addictions.

"Very rarely do we see burglaries because of unemployment," Hennen said. "They're doing it to feed a drug habit, not put food on the table."

Brookfield and Elm Grove police plan to speak at the event "It's Not My Kid ... Or Is It?" at 7 p.m. Jan. 22 at the Wilson Center, hoping to get more of the community involved in combating heroin use.

"It's much more than a Brookfield problem, and more than a police problem," Horter said. "It's a societal problem, and I think we have to attack it from every vantage point we can."

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