JOLIET – Will County has a slightly different plan for its Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program funding this year.
It will be used to develop the Safe Passage Initiative, where law enforcement officials help local addicts who are looking to get clean find treatment, regardless of their health insurance status.
Lockport, Lemont and Mokena police have used the concept so far. Police collaborate with A Man in Recovery Foundation to place addicts who voluntarily enter police headquarters during regular hours into treatment centers suitable for their recovery. The addicts must be residents of the community the department serves.
Each year the county receives the grant and splits it 50-50 with the city of Joliet. This year, the county will get $26,243, with the same amount going to Joliet.
In recent years, the county has used its money to pay for heroin and drug abuse prevention classes from the Robert Crown Center for Health Education. Those teachings were installed at middle schools and high schools in many parts of the county.
Now, the money still will go toward curbing the opioid addiction problem in Will County, but it will go through a different route.
The Safe Passage program is based on the one started in September 2015 by Dixon police and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, which were modeled after the one originally launched by the police department in Gloucester, Massachusetts.