CIRCLEVILLE – “We are not going to arrest our way out of addiction,” is what Chief Shawn Baer has said for years, now he says he will finish the sentence with the Angel Program and Foundations4Youth. “For years we haven’t had a good resource for addiction, now by partnering with PARS (Pickaway Area Recovery Services) we now do. As police officers, we have seen both sides of this issue and see the need to make this change in the way we do things. We have arrested and charged many addicts and dealers, but sometimes jail is not the answer for the people who are suffering from this. We will still proactively seek the suppliers of the narcotics and charge them to the fullest extent of the law,” Shawn Baer Chief of Police for Circleville. “This gives our officers on the street resources they never had before, things to offer the addicts they see every day.”
The Police Assisted Addiction & Recovery Initiative (PAARI) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to help law enforcement agencies nationwide create non-arrest pathways to treatment and recovery. Founded alongside the groundbreaking Gloucester Police Department Angel Initiative in June 2015, PAARI has been a driving force behind this rapidly expanding community policing movement.
The Angel Program will offer help to people addicted to narcotics, of any kind. To get the help they can walk into the police station located at 151 East Franklin Street in Circleville with the remainder of their drug equipment (needles, pipes, etc.) or even their remaining drugs and ask for help and NOT be charged. Instead, Officers will walk them through the system toward detox and recovery. They will then assign them an “Angel” who will be their guide through the process. Circleville Police said this will not be a waitlist situation, people will no longer need to wait hours or days, “this is on the spot, you come in for help and you get help.” PARS executive director, Barry Bennett said “they are committed to fast-tracking people that walk into the Police station. They will be quickly assessed and the proper care will be administered to them and they will get the help they seek.”
“Hospitals just give you a list of detox places, won’t even commit you if you say you’re going to kill yourself and they find out you’re detoxing. Hospitals have no sympathy or empathy,” (Participant 34 of the Angel Program.)
“I told an addicted person that came to me to go to Walmart and steal a pack of gum and get arrested on purpose because when you’re in the system you can ask for help, because that was the only way to get immediate help. This changes things.” said Rusti Neff operator of an Addiction Anonymous group in Circleville.
“We will take anyone looking for help in for evaluation, figure what they need and help them to a road to recovery. We now have more tools to help fight the war on addiction,” said Bennett.
“Please help us make a permanent change here in the City of Circleville. If you need help with addiction or know someone who does have them contact Circleville Police Department,” said Chief Baer Circleville Police Department.