Lancaster County police team up with addiction and mental health treatment providers for new ride-along program

The purpose of the program is to increase awareness and service coordination.

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — West Lamper Township Officer Jesse Blank has a new partner for his Sunday afternoon patrol.

It’s part of a new coordinated ride-along program developed by Blueprints for Addiction Recovery, a drug treatment facility group.

The program launched on Sept. 3.

“This whole ride-along program is just about building relationships with law enforcement and the communities,” said Chris Dreisbach, CEO of Blueprints for Addiction Recovery and co-founder of Second Chance PA.

So far, eight Lancaster County departments, including West Lampeter Township, have hopped on board.

“It’s a huge benefit for us to know the different programs available to us to help us do our jobs and provide different avenues of treatment for people,” said West Lampeter police officer, Jesse Blank.

Dreisbach said by allowing certified recovery specialists and therapists to help patrol, police are given an extra tool for responding to someone in a crisis situation.

“Having an unarmed responder responding with law enforcement who is there without a gun, without handcuffs, really just for the health of the community—I think it does a lot to calm situations down,” said Dreisbach.

As someone who personally battled drug addiction and made it through recovery, Dreisbach said he has the unique ability to relate to others facing similar struggles.

“We’re able to get down on the level with that person because I’ve had experience as an individual who wanted to commit suicide, an individual in recovery from substance use disorder and I’ve kind of lived those situations,” he explained .

For police, it’s a new way for them to learn other avenues for intervention – that may not necessarily include arrest.

“We’re on 24/7, they’re on 24/7 so having that relationship with them is very important for us to make that connection early on like this,” said Officer Blank.

Both parties hope the program helps them do their respective jobs even better.

“If we’re able to trust each other 100 percent, we’re able to serve the community better together,” said Dreisbach.

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