By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office says they would not have arrested the woman who told a deputy she wanted to get clean and get into rehab if she had not reached into her purse and handed over a small baggie of heroin.
Forty-year-old Elizabeth A. Fiedler was booked into the Lewis County Jail and charged the next day with possession of a controlled substance following a 911 call to her home in Onalaska on Feb. 28.
Chief Deputy Dusty Breen initially reported Fiedler called Lewis County dispatch and asked for help, bringing law enforcement to her residence that night. However, a copy of the police incident report indicates it was her boyfriend who called 911.
Fiedler was passed out on the bed with a needle in her arm and he said he called because he did not know what to do, according to the report and charging documents.
The responding deputy wrote she was extremely upset and crying, and said she had relapsed and shot up with heroin. She told him she really wanted his help to get treatment, he wrote.
A second deputy noted in his report that Fiedler told them she knew she had a problem and repeatedly said she needed to go to rehab and needed help.
As she was reaching in to her purse, Deputy Andrew Scrivner told her she did not have to give him anything, according to the report.
Fielder stated, “I know, but its the right thing to do,” Scrivner wrote.
They had no choice at that point but to arrest her, according to Breen.
“Really, for law enforcement if someone presents us with, if they are in possession of an illegal substance, we don’t have another avenue,” Breen said.
The deputies also took in to evidence a silver spoon with brown resin in it they had seen laying on the bed next to her purse, according to the report. A possible charge of possession of drug paraphernalia was referred to prosecutors, according to Breen.
The second deputy wrote that Fiedler was cooperative and compliant during the entire contact.
While the arresting deputy told Fiedler they’d do the best they could to get her into a treatment program so she could continue on have a successful career, and “we’re here for ya,” Breen said the sheriff’s office doesn’t have authority to get someone into drug treatment.
“We don’t have a lot of avenues where we can go with that,” Breen said.
Breen said the only time they can take a person into custody other than a law violation, would be if they were gravely disabled or in danger to themselves, in which case they could be taken to the hospital to talk with a mental health professional.
“Obviously the best thing to do would not be to produce the controlled substance,” he said.
When Fiedler went before a judge the following day, she was allowed release on a $5,000 signature bond. The prosecutor noted to the judge she has no criminal history and was cooperative.
She pleaded not guilty on March 9. Her trial is scheduled for the week of May 22.
Breen said the erroneous information he initially provided to the news media was based on a synopsis of the incident from the deputy that did not contain the same information as the actual incident report.
For background, read “News brief: Onalaskan asks law for help with drug issue” from Wednesday March 1, 2017, here