Winchester City Council has approved the addition of an Addiction Response Officer (ARO) to the Winchester Police Department (WPD) following a proposal made by Chief Amanda Behan.
The establishment of the Addiction Response Officer position was requested to address the impacts on the community resulting from the national opioid crisis. The ARO will be assigned to the WPD's Community Resources Team (CRT), and will also work closely with our public health and safety partners in the Department of Social Services and Fire and Rescue, specifically the Community Paramedic. Other community partners involved with the program include Valley Health and Brightview Recovery Services.
In addition to law enforcement functions, the ARO will:
- Respond to incidents of opioid overdose
- Work proactively with those suffering from substance addiction to receive critical recovery and peer support through community resources
- Assist with investigations targeting the trafficking and sale of illicit opioid substances in Winchester
The position will be filled internally by Corporal Nathan Morris, who has worked for the WPD for 12 years.
"Corporal Morris is a dedicated and compassionate officer, and with the experience he gained during his previous assignment on the Community Resources Team, his transition will be a natural and seamless one," stated WPD Chief Amanda Behan.
Because the position will be funded by the City's allocation of Opioid Settlement Awards, there will be no impact to the City's General Fund budget.