LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Angel Program at the Jeffersontown Police Department opens the door to addicts towards a clean and sober life.
“This is a very human program, a program based on trying to help people,” said Major Brittney Garrett
The Angel Program allows drug addicts to walk into the police department, hand in their drugs and instead of being sent to jail, officers will help place them in a treatment center.
“It takes immense courage, to one acknowledge you need help but to do that to a law enforcement officer,” Garrett explained.
The way the initiative stands now, however, the door isn’t open for everyone.
“Three or more drug-related offenses would make you ineligible to participate in these programs.”
Garrett said there are people she's had to turn away. It’s been an unintended consequence and one she’s trying to fix in Frankfort with Senate Bill 161. It would remove the provision completely.
The Angel Program at JPD was the first of its kind in Kentucky when it launched in 2016.
“Finally. Why did it take so long? It just makes sense,” said Mike Barry, the CEO of People Advocating Recovery, or PAR.
“You can't achieve long-term sobriety if you don't start.”
Barry is a recovering addict himself and remembers the struggle of seeking support.
“I was embarrassed to go ask, until I finally got the point I said, ‘man I need help, I just can't keep doing this,’” Barry explained.
He has been sober for 25 years but said the Angel Program could've started his journey sooner.
“I would've had some place where I could trust somebody that I knew.”
Senate Bill 161 passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
Since the J-Town Police Department launch in 20-16, three other police departments in Kentucky have started the program, including Kentucky State Police.
Jeffersontown Police said the program is meant to help addicts trying to get clean, but it doesn't mean officers have stopped arresting dealers.