Posted Friday, April 19th, 2019

The Morris County Sheriff’s Office Hope One mobile recovery and resource vehicle debuted on Thursday at Glenfield Park in Montclair, where the program received a nod of approval from Montclair State University Police Chief Paul M. Cell, who is president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Hope One, which launched in Morris County in 2017, spent five hours at the park at the request of Montclair Deputy Police Chief Wilhelm Young and Detective Sergeant Charles Cunningham, who are seeking ways to stem overdoses by individuals who are addicted to opioids, including heroin and fentanyl.

Hope One set up for action at a park in Montclair

Hope One set up for action in Montclair

Chief Cell, president of the world’s largest professional association for police leaders, stopped by the park Thursday afternoon to meet with Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, Undersheriff Mark Spitzer and the Hope One staff.

“I think by making it simple and focusing on the guardian roles of police on the issues of addiction and mental illness in our communities, it really helps community members understand, support and come forward if they’re in need of help,” said Chief Cell.

Both Chief Cell and Deputy Chief Young noted the simplicity of the program, which was duplicated in 2018 by the city of Newark, which created its own Hope One-Newark program.

The Morris County Sheriff’s Office Hope One is a retrofitted SWAT vehicle that was stripped of all police markings, painted white and purple and adorned with the words Hope One and the logos of its partners: Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris Counties, Center For Addiction, Recovery, Education & Success (CARES-NJ), and Family Promise of Morris County.

(l/r) Morris Undersheriff Mark Spitzer; MHA of Essex and Morris' Madine Despeine; Morris Sheriff's Cpl. Erica Valvano; Montclair Police Detective Sgt. Charles Cunningham; Montclair Deputy Chief Wilhelm Young; Family Promise of Morris County's Ashley Reed; Morris Sheriff James M. Gannon; Montclair Police Chief Todd Conforti; CARES Specialist Caroline Bailey; and Montclair Fire Department Chief John Herrmann

(l/r) Morris Undersheriff Mark Spitzer; MHA of Essex and Morris’ Madine Despeine; Morris Sheriff’s Cpl. Erica Valvano; Montclair Police Detective Sgt. Charles Cunningham; Montclair Deputy Chief Wilhelm Young; Family Promise of Morris County’s Ashley Reed; Morris Sheriff James M. Gannon; Montclair Police Chief Todd Conforti; CARES Specialist Caroline Bailey; and Montclair Fire Department Chief John Herrmann

In Morris County, the vehicle parks bi-weekly in neighborhoods where drug overdoses and drug sales are documented. In non-judgmental style, the staff – Sheriff’s Office Corporal Erica Valvano, and professionals from the partnerships –  put out snacks, coffee and toiletry bags and encourage people to board Hope One for Narcan training and information and referrals to detox and substance use recovery facilities, and mental health programs.

“As a society, we all can have a part in helping people reclaim their lives from drug dependency. Because police are familiar with people in their towns who are struggling with addiction, they’re in perfect positions to help guide them to resources,” Sheriff Gannon said.

On Thursday, CARES peer recovery specialist Caroline Bailey trained seven people on how to administer the nasal spray Narcan to a person in the throes of an overdose.

Since April 2017, Hope One has had contact with 6,517 individuals, trained 1,703 people in Narcan use, assisted 95 people with mental health resources, and arranged for 104 people to be sent to detox or substance abuse centers.