Grand Traverse, Leelanau Officials Work Towards Bringing Veterans Treatment Court Back

On Wednesday, officials in Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties came together to talk about bringing a veteran’s court back to Northern Michigan.

It’s a program the area did away with in 2015 because they say it wasn’t organized in an effective way.

“I was a combat veteran in Vietnam,” said David Mikowski, founder of Veterans in Crisis. “I didn’t realize I had combat fatigue or PTSD until years later.”

That’s why Mikowski says he has committed his life to helping other veterans.

Now with the help of many other officials and veterans, that help is coming to the court system.

“Veterans have some unique issues primarily post-traumatic stress disorder that can result in criminal activity and so veteran’s court would address both substance use disorder as well as mental health issues,” said Bob Cooney, Grand Traverse County prosecuting attorney.

Officials in Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties met for the second time, bringing the program one step closer to returning to the 86th District Court and 13th Circuit Court.

“If you have PTSD and it’s something that’s affecting your behavior whether or not it’s causing you to be violent or to be a poor driver or get in accidents or make bad judgments, we think it’s beneficial to send you down a path for recovery and treatment rather than just incarcerate people,” said Leelanau County Sheriff Mike Borkovich.

Reducing or even eliminating charges depending on the circumstances.

The treatment would be completely free for the veterans.

“The fact that there will be no wrong door policy for a veteran to go through, that’s the most important thing here,” said Mikowski. “The veteran needs help, the veteran is going to get help hopefully it will be just a phone call away.”

The next steps include finishing their grant application that will help them train the committee and getting support from their judges.