Enfield police are asking those struggling with opioid addictions to come forward, and promising they will not arrest anyone proactively raising their hand for help.
Enfield’s new police chief Alaric Fox told NBC Connecticut, “we are going to provide every service that we can,” to addicts who contact police saying they need help. Fox said they will not turn anyone away, and that they will bring people to St. Francis Hospital in Hartford for medical attention.
He said he was inspired to adopt this new protocol by the Manchester Police Department, who similarly ask addicts to come forward without fear of arrest.
Priscilla Brayson, who runs the soup kitchen Enfield Loaves and Fishes believes the initiative will help people in a town where “we’re losing lives left and right.”
Paramedic Jonathon Morisset, a lieutenant with Enfield Emergency Medical Services also supports the new policy, and said it is time law enforcement adopted a different approach to tackling the addiction crisis.
“What we’ve been doing for the last several years obviously isn’t working… it’s been getting worse,” he said.
Over the years, he said he has administered Narcan to overdosing addicts more times than he can count.
“I couldn’t even give you a ‘guesstimate’ number,” Morisset said.
Enfield police stress they need those struggling with addictions to come to the police station or call police directly at 860-763-6400. The chief said he cannot guarantee someone will not be arrested if police are responding to an incident in the field.