Prosecutor: ARC still afloat after personnel changes

The face of Wood County’s innovative and grant-winning opioid assistance program has left, along with her
Belinda Brooks, the former mayor of Luckey who has been public with her family’s troubles with drugs,
left the Addiction Response Collaborative in Wood County on Dec. 3. She had been placed on paid
administrative leave on Nov. 22.
In a letter notifying her of the leave, Wood County Prosecutor Paul Dobson said his office was
investigating allegations of disorderly conduct against Brooks. Dobson’s office oversees the ARC
“It was her choice,” Dobson said of Brooks’ eventual decision to resign.
“She voluntarily left this office,” he said. “Certainly there were some concerns. We had uncovered some
personal conduct that I felt was inconsistent with the goals and the reputation of the ARC program and
this office.”
In a Wood County Sheriff’s Office report from Feb. 24, a deputy was dispatched to 230 1/2 Main St. in
Luckey for an assault report. Brooks, who is 52, and Andrew Schacht, 52, and also lives in Luckey, were
cited for disorderly conduct.
There have been several Perrysburg Municipal Court filings and appearances over the last 11 months in
their case, which is set for sentencing on March 4 at 9:30 a.m.
The sentencing will be before special prosecutor Ted Riley, who is the Maumee prosecutor. The first
special prosecutor named in the case was Timothy Braun, the Sandusky County prosecutor who has pleaded
guilty to negligent assault of a female subordinate.
Braun got a plea deal in early December that allowed him to keep his $140,000 salary through June but
also barred him from working in his office, according to an Associated Press article. On Dec. 31, a day
after Attorney General Dave Yost filed a complaint seeking Braun’s removal, he was suspended by a
Sandusky County judge.
A special judge, Mary Grace Trimboli with Toledo Municipal Court, has also been appointed for the Brooks
Capt. Terry James, with the sheriff’s office, said a full report from the February incident won’t be
available until the case is settled. Because Brooks was an employee of the prosecutor’s office, a
special prosecutor had to be called in, he said.
Police were also called to assist Brooks in November, when a sexual assault complaint was filed, said
Randy Bielinski, police chief in Luckey.
“In November, her daughter came in and made some allegations and at that point I called our village
prosecutor,” Bielinski said.
Because Brooks is the former mayor of Luckey, there is a conflict of interest and the department should
not investigate it, he said.
Brooks also called Bielinski early in December and said she had found a “dime-sized bag” of marijuana in
her garage, the chief said.
Further details on both police reports are not being released because they are under investigation.
The November case was referred to Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Steve Irwin is senior public information officer for communications in the Office of Ohio Attorney
General Dave Yost. When asked for comment on any investigations regarding Brooks, he responded in an
“On Nov. 20, 2019, the Wood County Sheriff’s Office requested the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of
Criminal Investigation to investigate an alleged incident that reportedly occurred in Luckey, Ohio,” the
statement read. “Our investigation remains open.”
Det.-Sgt. Ryan Richards, the sheriff’s deputy involved in ARC, also left the program this summer.
“It had nothing to do with dissatisfaction. It was the difficulty,” Dobson said.
The ARC program will move forward with a new team, Dobson said.
“Even with Belinda, as unfortunate as it was, there was nothing regarding her conduct in the office or
relative to her direct duty in the ARC program,” he said.
“She helped a lot of people and, frankly, she saved a lot of lives. And it was an unfortunate parting of
the ways. Necessary, but unfortunate.”
Mindy Frost was recently hired to take Brooks’ place.
“She comes to us with a lot of work in human resources and she works at one of the Walmarts in
management,” Dobson said.
Adam Henry, a deputy with the sheriff’s office, has taken Richards’ place. A clinician will soon join the
team, too, he added.
“A Renewed Mind has been given grant funding to establish a clinician to assist the ARC team,” he said.

The three-person team will grow ARC, Dobson said.
“What we have is a great foundation. Ryan and Belinda created a very solid foundation. They deserve kudos
for that,” he said. “Adam and Mindy … are going to take that to the next level.”
Currently, there are “116 incidents” for ARC, Dobson said.
“That’s any time that we’ve been notified about a drug abuse or some family member to engage with,” he
said. “Some of those are people who did not survive their drug overdose. Some of those are people who
don’t live in this area. They just overdosed here in Wood County. Some of those are people in jail.”
There are 45 people actively involved in the program, Dobson said.
The ARC is a quick-response team. Clients come to the program in two ways, he said.
They can be referred to the program by a friend or family member. The ARC team will then encourage them
to enter a rehab program.
“The other way that people come to the program is if they overdose — and fortunately survive the overdose
either through law enforcement or other first responders or medical attention — the ARC team gets
notified of that,” Dobson said.
They follow up within a day or two to get treatment for the person.
“We do what we can to overcome any barriers. If they have trouble getting Medicaid or don’t know how to
do that, our team knows how,” Dobson said. “They will find a bed for them, if they need inpatient
In November, the ARC was awarded a $50,000 grant by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
The attorney general’s office used the story of a former Bowling Green High School athlete, who overdosed
in 2018 and is now celebrating one year clean, as one of the success stories. Matt Ruehl credited Brooks
with finding him a program.
When hired in November 2017, Brooks and Dobson shared their personal stories, which they said would help
them cut through red tape and relate to the people who they are assisting.
ARC is the brainchild of Dobson, who lost his 37-year-old stepson to heroin addiction.
Brooks talked about how her 17-year-old daughter battled addiction. She was prescribed Percocet after a
fall and when the prescriptions ran out, she started using heroin. After giving birth when she was 18,
her daughter left her mom to care for the newborn and spiraled out of control. Her daughter had been
drug-free for almost two years when Brooks did an interview with the Sentinel-Tribune in November 2017.

The experience led Brooks, who was the mayor of Luckey, to join the Wood County Opiate Task Force and to
start a support group, Solace of Northwest Ohio.
The startup of ARC was with $87,500 from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, plus funding from the
commissioners, job and family services, health department and alcohol, drug addiction and mental health
services board. The sheriff also committed a deputy, equipment and a vehicle.
Brooks was also in the news in April 2012, when she did several interviews, including one with the
Sentinel-Tribune, on her home foreclosure fight.
Attempts to reach Brooks were not successful.
(Det.-Sgt. Ryan Richards name has been corrected.)