“Angel Program” offers addicts help without fear of arrest

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – It’s called “The Angel Program” and it’s an initiative that’s offered at nearly 200 police departments nationwide.

It doesn’t matter if you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol, this program is intended to offer a second chance.

“It’s about getting people help that request help and getting them into treatment,” said Michigan State Police Lansing Post Lt. Lisa Rish.

Providing hope, not punishment…that’s the goal of “The Angel Program” now offered at the Michigan State Police Lansing Post and Lt. Rish says the program is simple.

“Someone who has an addiction problem will come into the post and they will say you know I need some help and we have angel volunteers is what we call them angels…and then they assist that person with trying to find the best fit for them with treatment centers,” Lt. Rish stated.

Jennifer Decker is one of those volunteers and she says “The Angel Program” holds a special place in her heart.

“My daughter Mary Jo passed away almost four years ago from an addiction to opiates,” said Jennifer.

Jennifer says her daughter battled a drug addiction for nearly ten years but eventually lost the fight.

But when Jennifer learned about “The Angel Program,” she knew she had to get involved.

“The window of opportunity for somebody that actually says that they need help is very, very short and it’s important for us to be there for them to help them when they need it the most,” Jennifer stated.

Both Jennifer and Lt. Rish understand the fear a person battling an addiction might have about going to a police station for help…but “The Angel Program” is there for them without judgment.

“We are not going to make an arrest, we are truly looking at it from the treatment side of things,” said Lt. Rish.

“This is a terrible disease and this is no fault of their own truly and they need compassion and they need help, they don’t need handcuffs, they need treatment,” Jennifer stated.

The MSP Lansing Post is currently looking for more angel volunteers.

If you’re interested, Lt. Rish says you must live within one hour from the Lansing Post, have a reliable source of transportation, you will be given a background check and will receive training before you get an assignment.

If you have any questions on how to sign up, you can contact the Michigan State Police Lansing Post at 517-322-1907.

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