Showing posts from November, 2018

Meet a small town chief helping people addicted to drugs into treatment

"I didn't become a cop to arrest every person that I knew."In a small town in Upstate New York, Chief Peter Volkmann is transforming his police department to better respond to the explosion of opioid overdoses. He's a nationally recognized leader in law enforcement-based harm reduction programs and community-oriented policing.
Mikayla Hellwich and Roshun Shah: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today. People who read our blog love to hear from officers who support harm reduction. Please tell us a little bit about Chatham: what it's like to be a police chief in a rural town in New York, and what are some of the challenges you face?

Police Chief Peter Volkmann: Chatham is in Columbia County, right outside of Albany. We're a very small village in a rural county, typical of Upstate New York. Our policing is very community oriented. Everybody knows everybody, but we still have the typical problems that every community has, which includes people su…

ACTION ALERT! Denver City Council to Vote on Supervised Use Site Ordinance

On Monday, the Denver City Council will read and vote on a proposed ordinance that would allow a pilot program for supervised consumption spaces, also called overdose prevention centers. 
Thank you to the Harm Reduction Action Center of Denver; all the service providers working directly with people who use drugs; and the broader coalition of organizations, public health experts, and legislators working in Denver - and in other cities - to bring supervised consumption spaces to the U.S. And thank you to Mayor Hancock and the City Council for bringing this critical piece of legislation to a vote. We appreciate your commitment to public health and safety.
If you live in Denver, you can help by sending letters to your council members and to Mayor Hancock (use this web form). You can also help by spreading the word about the vote on social media - be sure to tag the Harm Reduction Action Center - @HRAC_Denver - and use the hashtag #DenverWantsSupervisedUseSites. 
You can also show your suppor…

Criminal justice won this year's mid-term

Dear Friends and Supporters, 
Leading up to Election Day, LEAP speakers played a major role in criminal justice and drug policy reform efforts across the country, and yesterday, our hard work paid off! 
Five key state campaigns successfully spoke out for more rational and effective policies with LEAP’s help:

• Florida: Amendment 4 passed, meaning more than one million people who have served their time for felony convictions will have their right to vote restored.

• Louisiana: Amendment 2 passed, ending non-unanimous juries in felony trials, a practice established under Jim Crow to maintain white supremacy in the state.

• Michigan: Prop 1 passed, legalizing and regulating adult use of marijuana. 

• Oregon: Measure 105 was successfully defeated, blocking a repeal of laws protecting local police from being compelled to enforce federal immigration policies.

• Washington: Initiative 940 passed, requiring law enforcement to receive de-escalation, mental-health, and first-aid training; and to chang…

As a Police Officer, I Know Issue 1 Will Prevent Crime

The opioid crisis is ripping communities apart all across this country, including here in Ohio. Every year, thousands of our friends, neighbors, and loved ones lose their lives to overdose because of inadequate treatment and because of policies designed to punish instead of to break the cycle of addiction. Locking up people addicted to drugs doesn’t address their addiction or their underlying mental and physical health problems, homelessness, or unemployment.

But the Safe & Healthy Ohio Amendment, Issue One on November’s ballot, will begin a new approach—reducing unnecessary incarceration for addiction or minor parole or probation violations, and investing over $70 million in savings into rehabilitation and treatment programs. Having served many years as a police lieutenant and deputy sheriff in southern and central Ohio, I know this approach will improve public safety for all of us.

Shifting the focus from incarceration to treatment keeps communities safer because it will allow pol…

Why a Retired Asst. Police Chief Supports Amendment 4

I served as an officer in the Tampa Police Department for 30 years, so I believe in the rule of law. I believe there are consequences for our actions. People understand that incarceration plays a role in carrying out those consequences, but we rarely think about what happens after inmates have done their time. Should the consequences of their crime follow them even after they’ve paid their debt, when there’s no negative impact on public safety or crime victims? My experience tells me no, which is why I’m voting yes on Amendment 4, which would restore voting eligibility to people who have completed their sentence, including probation and parole. The amendment doesn’t apply to those convicted of murder or sex crimes.

Florida is one of four states that permanently bars the formerly incarcerated from voting for life. This has resulted in 1.4 million - or roughly 10% - of Floridians not being able to vote. An estimated 27% of all disenfranchised formerly incarcerated people nationwide resid…

LEAP Endorses Washington's Initiative 940

For Immediate Release: 11.2.2018
Contact: Mikayla Hellwich

POLICE GROUP ENDORSES I-940 Law Enforcement Says De-Escalation Training, Accountability Critical to Public Safety
Today, the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP) would like to announce our endorsement of Washington’s Initiative 940, which would mandate de-escalation and mental health training for police and create a fair, independent process to investigate deadly use-of-force incidents. The proposed law is intended to reduce violent and deadly interactions between civilians and police, protect those with mental illnesses, and improve the accountability process in law enforcement.

“In many situations, de-escalation protects officers and the communities they serve better than a gun ever could. I-940 provides such training. It builds trust. It saves lives.” - Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper (Ret.), advisory board member of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership.

"More training for …