I was tempted to write the title of this post in ALL CAPS because I am so proud to live in Lake County right now.
My county law enforcement and health agencies have accomplished something important together.
They have done it with justice, kindness, and humility.
The program, called A Way Out, makes police departments across the county safe places for people addicted to drugs to get help.
“Under a new program initiated across Lake County, those struggling with any type of addiction can walk into a police station and find help rather than handcuffs.
“Available 24 hours a day, the program allows anyone seeking help with addiction to any drugs or alcohol to go to a police station in Lake County for help. Program participants will then be connected to an appropriate inpatient or outpatient treatment program. The police will even provide transportation if necessary.” Lake County News-Sun, 6.1.2016
Providing addiction treatment to people who take the initiative to ask for it is justice. Access to treatment is a path to making things right, and what is more just than that?
The collaboration, the focus on developing a program that supports people in a position of weakness, the openness to reimagine the role of a police department to include this. That is kindness at an institutional level.
Kevin Kaminski, a former addict, researched the program from the perspective of a recovering addict before supporting it. When government listens to the voices of the people it serves, that is humility.
At the announcement of this program last week, Mundelein Police Chief Eric Guenther “said he has three young daughters, and whenever he sees a young overdose victim he ‘can’t help but think’ it could be one of his own children when they get older.” When leaders put themselves in the place of the vulnerable, that is humility.
What does this have to do with poverty?
Addiction is n huge burden, and in poverty there are often not enough resources to get treatment. This program makes treatment available to everyone. This program makes law enforcement an advocate for healing.
This is good government. God bless it.