Chris Talking, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania discussed on Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network
Just click that little subscribe button on your magical listening device in your pocket that some people refer to as a cell phone. I like to refer to it as my podcast gas listening device. Click subscribe. Please give us a little five star rating leaving. I sorta review. If you like what you hear and you can also Mosey on over to our website lines lines of liberty dot com you can drop me an email felony Friday at lensofliberty dot com and let me know what you think. Let's stop beating around the Bush guys. Let's get started with today's episode. Today's episode of Felony Friday. We're going to be talking about a very unique and important program right here in Pennsylvania state where I'm located. This is the other side of the state. I'm in Pittsburgh. This is over in elizabethtown borough. We're going to be talking about a program called second chance P._A.. It's a pre arrest diversion program for addicts addicts and it's the elizabethtown borough and North West regional police departments who've joined up with blueprints for addiction recovery and they're establishing resources that favour rehabilitation over incarceration hope over helplessness helplessness life over death and today. I'm joined by blueprints for Addiction Recovery C.. O. Christopher drives box say hello Christopher everybody felons not and Elizabeth town police chief Edward M Cunningham how John just call me just call you Ed yes okay. I'm glad we got that out of the way I was going to be calling you <hes> chief Cunningham the entire show so let's Chris has been on the show before I think about I think it was fifty episodes ago Episode One Thirty Four Felony Friday so you know we don't need to hear Chris this whole back story you know he went into that of that episode. We don't need to rehash that we're going to be I want to focus on this program because it's so unique and I think <hes> from what you from you guys are doing and really implementing <hes> in your local community. I think I wanted to shine a light on that so Chris but if you could just tell us a little a bit quickly for people that haven't heard that episode is a little bit about blueprints for addiction recovery and why you're so passionate about helping people suffer from addiction so blueprints for addiction recovery is a state licensed drug and Alcohol Treatment Project. We operate out of five separate locations here in south central Pennsylvania <hes>. I'm personally very passionate about this. Criminal Justice work with chief Cunningham and the other police in this area because I myself was arrested and the M._A.. Felon <hes> I spent nearly seven hundred days of my life in jail for drug related offenses and things related to my addiction and really really loves working with progressive people like Ed to help other people avoid the struggles that I had to go through. Thank you for sharing that Christopher and <hes> ed if you could just tell us <hes> what attracted you to a career in law enforcement and what's your career progression been if you've been elizabethtown the whole time if you have you moved around a little bit now I actually I am a third generation police officer. My Dad and grandfather were both police officers and I got my start. I worked at a couple of small departments. Uh south of Pittsburgh part time until I finally in nineteen ninety five got hired full time by the city of Pittsburgh police and I had a wide range of experiences working at twenty. Three years with Pittsburgh worked my way up I finally when I left Pittsburgh. My rank was lieutenant and I I saw the damage that was done by drug abuse and drug use and and I saw that we were arrested in a lot of people for <hes> for small amounts of drugs and when what they really needed was help the problem was i. I just didn't have the resources to do anything about it. In Pittsburgh on January of last year I got hired as the chief of police here in Elizabethtown January eighteen and just through the progression of doing doing my job I met Chris and we we came up with this really really interesting idea of trying to let the police be the gateway to helping people who need help get help in my career I've done I've done some works some work in drug work some in crisis negotiations some in patrol. I've I've had very widely varied career on but this is one of the things that I've always been passionate about is trying to get people help who who need the help. That's fantastic so what what community south of Pittsburgh I live south of Pittsburgh. I actually worked out in Hanover Township in Washington county out where it's now. I guess it was the Star Lake amphitheater yeah so I was one of the officers that worked there. Her worked real hard in the summertime and not at all in the winter not not much going on there in the winter. That's so I'm curious. So this program you guys met. Each Other was at Chris did did you did you approach ed or how did this <music> come about that. I'm not a thousand percent sure <hes> think maybe my office reached out to him as the new chief of police and we just wanted to talk a little bit about blueprints and what we could do to help residents of Elizabethtown and really just introduce them and little did I know that Ed was a progressive police chief that really wanted to make an impact in people's lives and change the way things are done in Pennsylvania. He can talk a little bit more about the small meeting that turned into this awesome program it it started off as just a when I first got here I was trying to meet as many business owners as I quoted and with Chris being a business owner here in town we got it set up through a mutual acquaintance and just plan to have a fifteen minute meeting and we started talking and that fifteen minute meeting <hes> initially turned into about a three hour afternoon and that's where we really got the ball rolling for the second chance program Yeah I do remember Chris called me. This was probably before the program started. I was <hes> we have a mutual friend in DEL currency ran for U._S.. Senate and I remember Chris Talking about how excited he was about this program <hes> and just the potential of it before it even rolled out so <hes> I know that how long has has this been implemented for like. What's the what's the time for when was the kickoff date percent? The official kickoff date was January first of this year we were actually doing some test cases through the end of November and into December and got a few you people connected with the service as we were trying to work out the all of the details but the official launch was January first of this year okay and just to give some background on how it works so it's a pre arrest diversion diversion program for addicts so what types of cases what types of situations would this program and feel free. I should probably say whoever can best address the question just jump in because both address it. I mean this isn't directed to any one of you but how does that work on case by case basis chief the things the things that we're looking at for pre arrest and pre arrest diversion is just <hes> one one portion of the overall program and Bay we look at the second chance <hes> when we were building only Chris and I were building at we took the best parts of a number of different programs from around the country to put it together for something that we thought would be unique and really address all of the pro the problems that we saw that we were facing and for for ray pre arrest diversion it would be something that's a small level <hes> a small amount of possession or paraphernalia charge or maybe something like <hes> Chris and I were just talking about this earlier here today. How a lot of times theft cases are really the the the addiction is the motivator behind theft case and so if we have a small theft case that might be a a that might be a candidate for for the pre arrest diversion <hes> basically it's? It's not it's summary cases very low level misdemeanors. Were obviously not going to be ignoring felonies <hes>. We're not going to be ignoring anything violent <hes> when I'm saying felonies. I'm saying things that the criminal justice system says has to be addressed through an arrest <hes> it's going to be the smaller ones wants the smaller cases that we would have the discretion at the magistrate's Office to knock down to a fine or something like that those are going to be the kind of cases that were that are the true pre arrest diversion <hes> some of the larger cases. We're not abandoning those people if a person comes to us it or if we come in contact with the person who needs the help but who is facing a more serious charge than the police officers go into more of advocate role and we still make contact with the recovery specialist we still make contact and make a referral through the second chance program and and we move into helping them get the help that they need once they've addressed the legal issues that have to be addressed <hes> but another big part of the program is that we've also turned the police stations nations into <hes> gateways into to safe places that a person can come and say <hes> you know. Excuse me but I need help. I can't do this anymore. I need help and if they happen to have. Move a little bit of paraphernalia on them or a small amount of drugs or something then that would be something that we're not going to arrest them for asking for help. That's great so so from there once <hes> so say someone walks into the police station say one of these arrests are is made or I guess before they're arrested what happens then is blueprints contacted or how does how does that play out. The officers can call and the officers have received training on how to do an initial assessment of you know. Is this person a good candidate for the second chance program and we have a phone number through blueprints for the <hes> the certified recovery specialists and there are several of them that Chris has on on call for us and we have a number that we can call twenty twenty four hours a day seven days a week anytime of the day and we have a commitment through the second chance program that someone you know a live person will answer the phone and we'll talk to us and will if if it's appropriate will come out whatever time it is will come out to where we need them and begin the assessment <unk> process to get this person into help immediately and that's one of the things that makes aches our program unique among all the other programs in the country that we were able to find is that we have the C._R._S.. Who will come to the scene of where we are and begin immediately working to get the person help C._R._S. stands for certified recovery specialists so that's somebody who has trained to meet a person where they are a person who is pre recovery to try to get them into recovery Br and certified are loving overlords at the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania so Chris this this.