The Roswell Police Department formally introduced the Roswell Angel Program at a news conference at the police department Jan. 23.
WHAT: The Angel Program offers a means by which the Roswell Police Department and its partner agencies in this effort – the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office, Roswell Fire Department and Recovery Services of New Mexico – can reach out to people who may benefit from certain drug-addiction recovery services.
The “Angels” are the officers, deputies and firefighters who take the time to personally bring the availability of the program to the attention of people struggling with opiate addiction, which includes drugs such as heroin, oxycodone and others. Such people are often unaware of available recovery options and how to obtain those services. The local first-responders will be able to make people aware of counseling and treatment services available to them and assist these people in obtaining those services if they choose to. That assistance comes in the form of transporting those who request it to Recovery Services, which will then take care of the necessary paperwork to begin the outpatient services it offers.
WHY: Police officers and other first-responders often deal with people struggling with drug addiction. While there are times when these people are involved in a criminal incident related to drug use and are arrested as a result, many other times these people are not in a criminal situation at the time an officer may deal with them. As a result of repeated encounters with people dealing with addictions, law enforcement officers and emergency medical responders often become familiar with these citizens.
The Angel Program serves as a tool police and other first-responders can use to offer help to someone willing to try to end their addiction and strive for a better life. In Roswell, the program is specifically for treatment of opiate addictions. Also, the program is not an alternative to criminal prosecution for someone who is charged with a crime. Those who participate do so voluntarily and without any connection to a criminal case.
WHO’S INVOLVED: The Roswell Police Department has initiated the program and has partnered with the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office, Roswell Fire Department and Recovery Services of New Mexico in this effort.
People wanting to enter the program can come to the Roswell Police Department (128 W. Second St.), the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office (1 Saint Mary’s Place) or one of three Roswell Fire Department stations (Station 2 at 501 E. McGaffey St.; Station 3 at 2800 Wilshire Blvd.; or Station 4 at 10 E. Challenger St.). Those who show up at one of these five locations and request help through the Angel Program will be transported by a police officer of sheriff’s deputy to Recovery Services of New Mexico at 1107 S. Atkinson Ave. If it is not during the center’s intake times, arrangements will be made to transport the person for intake as soon as possible, often with special arrangements being made to more quickly accommodate the intake.
IMPACT: Local residents battling opiate addiction will have the opportunity to obtain long-term counseling and treatment to overcome their addiction and improve their quality of life. At the community level, drug-related crimes, from burglaries to violent offenses, could potentially decrease.
BACKGROUND: The Angel Program originated in the northeast United States. The program and similar ones have been adopted in communities in 28 or more states. The Roswell City Council in December unanimously approved RPD’s proposal to establish the program in Roswell. The services provided to people through the program will be funded by Medicaid and other federal financial-assistance programs.