EVERETT – Everett Police last week became the first department on the west coast selected to participate in a national partnership with the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative and AmeriCorps. PAARI helps public safety agencies connect opioid drug users with drug treatment facilities, often on scholarship if private insurance is not available. Everett has partnered with PAARI since May 2016 and, under the expansion, the department will now host an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer who will help strengthen and sustain their current programs, with the goal of preventing overdose deaths and encouraging more individuals to seek treatment.
“We’ve developed a strong partnership with PAARI over the past several years to provide much-needed drug treatment services to some of our most vulnerable community members, at no cost to taxpayers,” said Chief Dan Templeman. “I’m excited about the opportunity to grow our partnership in a way that better serves our community and to expand our use of volunteers to build on the great work our police officers and social workers perform on a daily basis.”
PAARI recently received a $412,749 grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to launch a national expansion of its pioneering pilot program to embed AmeriCorps volunteers in police departments to address the opioid epidemic. The grant will fund 17 full-time volunteers who will serve in police departments in nine states. The program launches later this month.
PAARI is now accepting applications for its AmeriCorp VISTA position at Everett Police, with an anticipated start date between June and September 2019. Details, including a link to apply for each position, can be found at paariusa.org/recoverycorps.
Balancing outreach and enforcement
The Everett Police Department in 2018 used its relationship with PAARI to get 11 people into treatment programs that would have otherwise been difficult or impossible to access, all at no cost to the taxpayers. The department’s Community Outreach and Enforcement Team utilizes this resource as an option for people in the community who have run out of options and signaled that they are ready for treatment.
While outreach, treatment and partnerships like PAARI can benefit those living with addiction, Everett continues to maintain a balanced approach that incorporates accountability and enforcement for those who commit crimes and are unwilling to accept services. Just last year, quality-of-life crimes charged by the City prosecutor’s office increased by 7.4 percent and Stay Out of Drug Area orders issued increased by 20 percent. By taking this balanced approach, the Everett Police Department continues to support those in need while still maintaining a safe and welcoming community for all residents.
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