The primary goal of the Phoenix Police Department is to help the community. With that goal in mind we are always willing to explore various programs and options, some of which may be considered non-traditional. One of the most serious problems facing us today is drug addiction which has a known link to crimes such as burglary, theft, prostitution, violent crimes, and other types of abuse. Furthermore, drug addiction is a disease with a stigma attached. Addicts often desperately want help but are not sure how to get it and are afraid to admit to anyone, let alone the police, they are users.
So in October 2016, with the support from Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, the Phoenix City Council, and Phoenix Police Department, the Arizona Angel Initiative Program was created. It was piloted in the Maryvale-Estrella Mountain Precinct due to a high number of drug overdoses as well as having the highest rate of child removal by the Arizona Department of Child Safety due to drug use in the home. The idea was to keep families together during treatment and reduce the risk of these children growing up in an uncertain environment. Citizens who met the criteria could turn in their drugs/paraphernalia and request help without fear of prosecution. Officers would then contact the Angel Navigator to find an appropriate treatment location for the individual. By offering this kind of help we would reduce the shame, the crime rate, the child removal rate, and the overdose rate in the community.
With the success of the pilot program, the Arizona Angel Initiative Program went citywide in June 2018. Now citizens can walk into any Phoenix Police Precinct and request treatment for their drug addiction or help for a loved one.
To participate the following criteria must be met.
- Must be an adult age 18 or older.
- Must be willing and able to follow staff directions.
- Must have a valid Identification Card.
- Must agree to abide by all rules and refrain from engaging in illegal and/or inappropriate activity.
- Must be willing to go to detox and obtain medical clearance, if detox is required.
- Be physically and mentally able to self-manage personal hygiene and self-care within a non-medical, non-psychiatric facility.
- Not be a fugitive from justice or have any prior or pending charges for crimes involving violence, arson, sexual offenses, children, or the elderly.
If you meet the above criteria and would like to participate in the Angel Initiative, all you need to do is show up at any Phoenix Police Precinct with a valid State I.D., between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., turn in your drugs and request treatment. Although it is preferred that you arrange care for your children while you get help, the Angel will find caregivers who will take them in while you get help and in some cases, you may be able to take your children with you.
Community members and substance abuse providers can also help the program in various ways. Please visit the web site below to find out how you can become an Angel.