Greg interviews Sergeant Pat Greenhill, the Sergeant of the Berea Police Department and PAARI (The Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative) Program Coordinator for Community Engagement. They are joined by PAARI State Representative Nicole Walmsley. You can listen to her first podcast episode here. As Sergeant Greenhill explains, PAARI is a national organization started in Gloucester, Massachusetts by the Gloucester Police Department. Its mission is to help opioid addicts find proper addiction treatment. “We don’t turn anyone away, we will provide them with access to resources,” says Sergeant Greenhill.
Sergeant Greenhill wants the Berea Police Departments PAARI program to be a model for others. If other stations in Ohio wish to incorporate PAARI into their stations, he hopes to help them along the way so they can learn from his department’s adaption process. “Whenever they are interested in [PAARI], all they have to do is: look at the pieces we put into play and then adapt the model to their community,” says Sergeant Greenhill.
Greg asks Sergeant Greenhill about how the officers are dealing with no longer seeing the addicts as bad people, but rather having a change of heart. Sergeant Greenhill says when PAARI was introduced to the station, over half of the officers agreed to participate in intake. He notes that close to 20 officers volunteered before the program was even started in the community. “Our number one responsibility as law enforcement is the preservation of life,” says Sergeant Greenhill.