Police Chief receives 2019 Law Enforcement Leadership Award

Jul 11 2019 | 01:55 AM

The P.A.A.R.I. Fourth Annual Celebration and Awards Ceremony was held in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where the national movement that reinvented the way that law enforcement agencies address addiction started in 2015. That's where Newton Police Chief Michael Richards received the 2019 Law Enforcement Leadership award.
In November 2015, Chief Richards lead efforts to form the Sussex County Community Law Enforcement Addiction Recovery (C.L.E.A.R.) Program, modeled after P.A.A.R.I. programs. The Newton Police started its program in July 2016 and then eight other local police departments so did too.
As Sussex County Police Chiefs Association president, Chief Richards collaborated with the Sussex County Prosecutor, the Center for Prevention and Counseling, Newton Medical Center and other organizations to create the state's first addiction recovery program that was county wide.
C.L.E.A.R. Program has helped more than 100 people facing recovery from substances, through treatment that includes a recovery coach. C.L.E.A.R. recovery coaches helped more than 600 patients at Newton Medical Center and now meet with those facing recovery in County Jail by connecting them with recovery help prior to release.
Chief Richards said he considers it an "honor to be recognized by P.A.A.R.I., who just four years ago had what seemed like an impossible idea, and it has now contagiously grown to include numerous law enforcement agencies from across the country. I’m proud to say that we had the Newton Police patch as the first patch from NJ on the P.A.A.R.I. website and I’m grateful to have worked with such dedicated and caring professionals in Sussex County to be able to make the C.L.E.A.R. Program so successful, and impactful to individuals and families in Sussex County.”
The Sussex County C.L.E.A.R. Program is thankful for the partnership and support from P.A.A.R.I. With more than 450 law enforcement partners, P.A.A.R.I. provides treatment access and work toward a collective vision where non-arrest diversion programs become a standard. This law enforcement movement is reducing overdose deaths, expanding access to treatment, improving public safety, reducing crime, diverting people away from the criminal justice system, reducing stigma and increasing trust between law enforcement and their communities. For more information about P.A.A.R.I. visit https://paariusa.org/ PAARI - Police Assisted Addiction & Recovery Initiative
Learn more about the Sussex County C.L.E.A.R. Program visit http://clearprogram.org/.