Cops help 41 find care for addiction

CHATHAM –Police Chief Peter Volkmann told the Village Board last week that the Chatham Cares 4 U program had received its first donation… $100. The program, which assigns police officers to find treatment beds for people with addiction and then transports the addicted people to a treatment center, is run by the part-time police force and volunteers called angels.

The program has been busy. It started over the summer and Chief Volkmann announced on the department’s Facebook page recently that 41 people have found treatment through the program so far.

After the board’s monthly meeting November 10, Chief Volkmann said that donations can be made to the Village of Chatham at the Tracy Memorial Village Hall, 77 Main Street, care of Chatham Cares 4 U. The chief updates the department’s Facebook page when someone comes to the police station seeking help to end addiction. The department is in the Tracy Memorial. The department’s Facebook address is www.facebook.com/chathampolice.

Chief Volkmann said that he is keeping the program funded through the part-time village police force budget. The two expenses for the Chatham Cares 4 U program have been mileage on the police cars and salary, he said. Many of the officers are paying for tolls out of their own pockets while they are transporting people to treatment.

Village Clerk Barbara Henry read the board a letter sent to them by a resident in another town, who had worked in the Chatham School District, praising the program, calling it “forward looking” and giving a special thanks to Chief Volkmann for his “vision and efforts.”

Chatham Cares 4 U is the only effort of its kind in the county and one of only a few in the state. It is modeled after a program started in Gloucester, MA, which encourages residents who want to overcome drug addiction to walk into a police station. Like the Gloucester program, Chatham Cares 4 U participants can turn over any drugs or drug paraphernalia that the police will then marked for destruction and the participant will not be charged. According a press release sent to The Columbia Paper when the program first started, participants in the Chatham Cares 4 U program must be 18 years or older. They cannot have outstanding warrants, and if the Chatham police have a reasonable belief that a volunteer, or angel, could be harmed by the participant, they will not be helped by the program.

The phone number for the Chatham Police Department is 518 392-3451.

Also at the meeting:

• The board approved the bond to purchases the new pumper truck for the village Fire Department. The bond authorizes borrowing about $386,000, which includes legal fees and closing costs

• Mayor Tom Curran said that several residents attended the first public comment section of the meeting to praise the look of the village and the new sidewalk and road surface on Woodbridge Avenue.

The next board meeting will be Thursday, December 8 at 7 p.m.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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