MENOMINEE POLICE DEPARTMENT
2509 10th Street
Menominee, MI. 49858
Chief Brett J. Botbyl
Captain Rick Hansen
Telephone (906) 863-5568
Fax (906) 863-9393
With heroin deaths surpassing gun deaths in our country and knowing that no community is immune from opioid deaths, the Menominee Police Department is partnering with the Police Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I), a nonprofit organization formed in 2015 in Gloucester, MA.
This program will be provided locally and is aimed at encouraging opioid addicts to seek help from the police department. The police department will assist the addicted person with getting into a treatment facility and pair the addicted person with a citizen volunteer who will provide transportation to the treatment center.
This will provide the person with the first step to recovery.
The Menominee Police Department is seeking volunteers and donations to get this program up and running.
If you would like to become a Volunteer Angel please fill out the attached Application.
Note: Volunteer Angels need to have a valid driver’s license and a reliable vehicle with valid insurance and registration.
If you would like to make a monetary donation please fill out the attached Donation Form.
Please submit the Application and/or Donation to the following:
Police Chief Brett Botbyl
2509 10th Street
Menominee, MI 49858
EAGLE HERALD ARTICLE 01/08/2017
MENOMINEE — Our nation is facing a drug crisis, and no community is immune. With heroin deaths surpassing gun deaths in the country, and opioid deaths reported in small towns as well as big city, law enforcement agencies have to look beyond arresting addicts.
Menominee Police Chief Brett Botbyl wants to start a program locally that is aimed at encouraging opioid addicts to seek help from the police department, which will pair them with a citizen volunteer who will help them take the first step toward seeking treatment.
“I’ve wanted to do this for quite some time,” Botbyl told the Eagle Herald in a December interview. “We’ve had many deaths in our community attributed to opiates.”
The Angel Program, which has been established in other communities — including Escanaba — brings local volunteers willing to drive, together with people seeking help with their addiction to inpatient programs in the Upper Peninsula and Lower Michigan.
It all starts with an opioid addict knowing they can walk in the door of the Menominee Police Department and ask for help, without worrying about arrest.
“Somebody who is addicted to drugs comes to the police department, and we call an Angel, who brings them to a treatment facility,” he said.
The program will be run entirely on donations and volunteer efforts, he said, with some help from PAARI, the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative, a nonprofit organization formed in 2015 in Gloucester, Massachusetts, by Police Chief Leonard Campanello to fight the war on drugs “by doing something about the demand, not just the supply,” according to a statement on PAARI’s website, http://paariusa.org.
Botbyl said he has already contacted two treatment facilities in the U.P., one faith-based, which accept some insurance plans, and is working with another downstate.
There is little paperwork at the police department; but those seeking help must be Menominee County residents, and cannot have outstanding arrest warrants, or be facing a pending court action. They also cannot have a prior record of violence. If they are under 18, they have to have permission from parents or a guardian to seek help.
“They also can’t have any medical problems, or already be involved in a drug court,” Botbyl said.
Botbyl said it is a program that may start to address a growing problem.
“This is epidemic in our area and people just don’t know it,” he said. “No family is exempt — this hits all socioeconomic levels. It’s not a police problem, it’s a community problem.”
Botbyl said he plans to seek funding to pay travel costs, and to find volunteers who are willing to give someone a ride. There will be some extra work for his staff, who will have to make the connection between volunteers and the addicted person who walks in the door.
But the biggest part of the equation comes from the addicted person.
“They are going to have to have the will to come to the program,” he said. “Once a facility is contacted and a volunteer is found, the addicted person will be taken there that day.”
Botbyl said he knows the “road to recovery is not easy. It sometimes takes multiple times to get through a program. But we want them to know their police department is there to help them — with no questions asked — like the drug take-back program.”
Botbyl said there is no training requirement for the volunteers; they are asked to sign a release from liability form and prove that they have a valid driver’s license and a registered vehicle. They also are asked to sign a confidentiality agreement to protect the identities of the addicted people seeking help.
According to Botbyl, Escanaba Public Safety started an Angel Program about a year ago, and it is doing well.
“It’s my understanding that the community support is overwhelming,” he said, adding that some businesses in Escanaba have even offered jobs to those people coming out of treatment programs successfully.
Botbyl told the Menominee City Council of his plans Dec. 19, and will begin looking for volunteers and donations this month. He said it is part of his department’s objectives and mission statement for continuous improvement and community compassion.
“I don’t believe we are going to arrest our way out of this situation,” he said of the growing drug problem. On the PAARI website, it states, “We also work to remove the stigma associated with drug addiction, turning the conversation toward the disease of addiction rather than the crime of addiction.”
Botbyl looks to start the Angel Program Feb. 1, “dependent on the donations and the volunteers. Without that, it won’t get off the ground.”
People can call the police department at 906-863-5568 during regular business hours to get more information about the Angel Program, or to request donation or volunteer forms.
“Once we have a list of possible Angels, we will hold a meeting,” Botbyl said. “While there is no specialized training needed, I want to meet the volunteers.”
Every addicted person entering the Angel Program is doing so voluntarily, Botbyl said. Sometimes people wanting to get help don’t know how to start, he said. The Menominee Police Department is opening its doors to help them take that first step.
“We’re trusting them — they need to trust us,” he said.