POUGHKEEPSIE – The City of Poughkeepsie Police Department has joined several other Hudson Valley police agencies to aid those with drug problems by enlisting with the Hope Not Handcuffs initiative. The announcement was made Tuesday afternoon at the police department headquarters.
Spearheaded by Police Captain Steve Minard, the Poughkeepsie Police Department personnel have undergone training to bring the program to the city. The program is designed to help people with substance abuse. “This is another resource we are providing to the community for treating people that need our services. We’re going to help them while treating them with respect and compassion when they walk through our door seeking help,” he said.
Patricia Fell, of Hope Not Handcuffs, lost her son, Matt Herring, to an overdose in 2017. In unveiling Poughkeepsie’s participation, Fell and several other volunteer “Angels” joined to praise the latest police department that asked to enlist. The program enables individuals seeking to escape the substance abuse cycle to get help at participating police agencies.
When a person grows weary of the drug-abuse lifestyle, according to Fell, this program allows them to enter a participating police station and request help for their problem without fear of criminal charges.
When a person enters the Poughkeepsie station between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. requesting help with a drug problem, the officers help by contacting the volunteers from the program, who dispatch two “Angels” to come to meet with the person. The angels work with the individual to determine the best course of treatment and encourage the person to take advantage of an option.
“This is one more way that our department is leading the way in mental health services provided by police departments. Now we have yet another resource available when people need help,” said Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison. He noted that the road to recovery is not easy and typically requires several attempts by the person. “We know how difficult the process is and the Poughkeepsie Police Department is here to help, with the assistance of the Angels that volunteer.”