Intervention? Cops are Interventionists?
If we look at what a successful intervention is we come to one conclusion, the person in need accepted the help and was transported to the appropriate facility. There may well be long term case management services connected to the intervention but those are really additional supportive services. The intervention was concluded the moment they accepted the help, from that point there was a transport.
We tend to glamorize interventions however. As someone who has conducted countless interventions they are typically anything but glamorous. People are angry and scared. It is safe to say the entire family is emotionally compromised which is why they needed to hire an interventionist. in other words, the family is usually the biggest obstacle when it comes to interventions, treatment, aftercare, and quality sober living. We do need their support but, we need to tactfully explain that their presence is sometimes a distraction. As tactfully as possible.
I prefer to meet with the family and then conduct the intervention in a one on one setting. This could explain why I have done so many inside city and county jails. The question is very simple, “Would you like to go to treatment today or stay here in jail?” Granted there is some upfront work that needs to be done like building a rapport with the subject of my intervention. Once some level of trust and understanding has been accomplished we can move forward with the important questions.
So if we can get to the point much faster in a controlled environment, consider how law enforcement might have a hand up here. in the 1980’s and 90’s i was arrested numerous times for public intoxication, driving while intoxicated, failure to appear, violations of my release, etc. Almost every time I was picked up the arresting officer would ask me why i kept doing the same thing and if I ever considered getting help. Almost every time I reacted poorly but, I was a captive audience and heard every word.
Today in Denton, Texas the local Police and Sheriff’s department is constantly giving out my name and often calling for me or one of my staff to meet with someone. The big shock was learning that most Officers and Deputies actually want to see people do well. I say, big shock, because for many years I was not fond of law enforcement and thought they were all out to get me. Many men and women are well and alive today due to the intervention from their arresting officer.
One Dallas Police Officer, who had arrested me a number of times explained the following while transporting me one more time to the Dallas County Jail.
“You probably think I’m out to get you and when you tell people that they say you are just paranoid. The truth is that I have identified you as a problem on my streets so I arrest you every time I can. You see I am going to get you off my streets and it is going to happen one of the following ways. You are going to move away, you are going to get caught doing something that will send you to prison, or you are going to wise up and get some help. and not be out here causing trouble in the middle of the night. I hope it is the latter and I hope it happens before you die but, until then I am going to arrest you every time I see you. I will get you off my streets.”
I am alive today because of officers like him and an unyielding Judge who let me feel the full weight of my choices. He could have washed his hand of me and sent me to prison. He chose to put me in the county jail over and over until I had enough. If he sent me to prison I would have been released within a year or two and he would have no authority over my actions. He knew I would likely die so he kept me on probation and let me sit for months at a time. In all I was on probation for 13 years and spent a collective 2 1/2 years in the Dallas County Jail with a total of 42 arrests. I lost everything including the career I so desperately wanted but, I am alive today and it was in jail that I finally decided I had to get clean and sober.
One day I was able to thank the Judge who I thought hated me. I wish I could remember the name of the Dallas Police Officer who arrested me so many times so I could thank him as well. I would like to thank all law enforcement who came into contact with me as well as the rest of us who suffer from addiction. Keep on intervening because it works.
In conclusion, cops are some of the very best interventionists if for no other reason then circumstances and pure volume without distraction. Get to know as many as you can. Let them know who you are and how you can help so you will be the call they make. Even a paid interventionist needs a good list of resources or they have nowhere to take someone once they agree to the help. You will be surprised how much you can make a difference in you respective communities.
I hope this helps. If you have any question please leave a comment.