Hope Not Handcuffs already helping drug users in Metro Police Authority area

Published: Oct. 18, 2019 at 6:24 PM EDT
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(10/18/2019) - Jeffrey Montney has been a police officer for just a little over a year. And already, he's seen how widespread and devastating the the opioid epidemic is on families and the overall community every day.

"Probably at least once or twice a shift," he explained.

Last month , the Hope Not Handcuffs program was introduced to the Metro Police Authority of Genesee County.

It works like this -- an Angel is called to the Department to help someone struggling with an addiction. The volunteer assesses the person's needs and helps find the best treatment option for them.

"Really before Hope Not handcuffs, the only option that we had was to take them to the hospital," Officer Montney said.

During one of his shifts recently, he was grateful he had the new tool.

"Around noon, we got called out to a area business and the business owner was concerned about one of his employees that was sleeping in his car," he explained.

Officer Montney started speaking to the man and found out he was struggling with addiction. He had lost his kids and was living out of his car.

"And, so you know I asked him - Do you want to get some help? And at first, he was a little reluctant. I think he's been through it before, where he tried to get help and it didn't really work for him," Officer Montney explained.

But, he said the man agreed to come to the department to speak with an Angel.

He was placed that same day into a treatment facility for detox.

The program launched in February 2017. Since then, over 3,300 people have been helped into treatment across the state.

Hope Not Handcuffs is always in need of 'Angel' volunteers.

The only requirements are passing a background test and attending a training session.

You can find a link to sign up, in the 'Related Links' section of this story.

"I'm hoping he's doing well with it, but it did feel good because I did get in this line of work to help people. I do enjoy helping people," Officer Montney said.

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