Law enforcement officers in mid-Michigan are expanding their efforts to help care for victims of opioid addiction.
In June, the Michigan State Police announced its participation in the Angel Program. The initiative allows anyone who comes to a state police post seeking help for a drug addiction to do so without fear of arrest or investigation.
Now, the Ingham County Sheriff’s Department and Lansing Police Department are joining the effort.
“They’re throwing up the white flag and saying, ‘I need help; where can I go to get help,” says Lansing Police Chief Mike Yankowski. “We’re opening up our arms. This community policing philosophy is that we’re here to help you in a lot of different ways.”
Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth believes the program may take some time to catch on.
“After we have some successes and they’ve heard about people that have walked into the sheriff’s office and we didn’t question them about how they got their narcotics, they didn’t get arrested,” says Wriggelsworth. “I think it will breed other people being willing to come in and trust us that we’re just here to try to facilitate that help as opposed to any criminal aspect of their illness.”
The Michigan State Police is looking for volunteers to talk with participants and help direct them to the proper treatment programs.