Officers from Prince William County, Manassas City, and Manassas Park in Virginia raided 19 locations and arrested 53 people over three days last month in drug raids.
But after each arrest, a detective or other officer sat down with the suspects and made this offer: We have a chaplain available right now to take you to a drug treatment center, where counselors are ready and waiting — right now — to get you into the treatment you need, reports the Washington Post. And for a police officer to make that offer — and to have arranged the path from jail to treatment — is groundbreaking, police experts said.
There were six takers, according to Vickie Taylor, a division manager for the Prince William County Community Services Board. Even more remarkable, Taylor said, is that everyone who first made contact with her counselors has since showed up for subsequent appointments or treatment.
Prince William Police Chief Stephan M. Hudson, a former investigations commander, said it was "imperative that health service providers and law enforcement engage in collaborative efforts to raise awareness and increase treatment opportunities for those plagued by these often deadly addictions." Hudson added that "the work of service providers across multiple disciplines, along with law enforcement agencies within Prince William County and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park, is to be commended and hopefully repeated wherever possible."