Fayette County law enforcement reflect on roles in LEAD Program

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FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WVNS)– We recently introduced you to Dave Taylor and the Fayette County LEAD Program, a new initiative that offers low-level drug offenders treatment over incarceration. Now, we meet some of the officers involved in the program.

The Fayette County LEAD program started in Montgomery, offering treatment over jail time to repeat low-level drug offenders as a way to combat the opioid crisis in southern West Virginia.  The program was soon adopted throughout Fayette County through the sheriff’s department and other police departments. Officers told 59News the option to seek treatment has made their jobs as law enforcement easier.

 “We were going through the repetitive thing of putting the same low-level offenders in jail for the same thing over and over and now they have something different to look forward to,” Fayetteville Police Patrolman Garrett Holstein said.

Holstein said in areas like Fayette County, addiction is repetitive and with no long-term treatment or support outside of jail, addicts fall back into their old habits.

“This is all they know, its all they’ve done,” Holstein added. “So when you hold their hand and start pointing them in the right direction, you’re just helping them move forward, showing them all the right things they need to start doing. Some of these people forgot how to live a normal life.”   

For Fayette County Deputy Amanda Keenen, when she learned of the program, she said she could not wait to help and even went knocking on doors offering treatment to homes she knew were in need.

“Several people who I personally have gotten into treatment who have come out of treatment and been completely clean, they’ve gotten jobs, they’ve gone down educational paths, they’re really starting to become a member of society,” Keenen said.

Both agreed having a program where they can help their community in a fluid and hands on way has reignited their love for their jobs.

If you or someone you know struggles with addiction, you can contact the LEAD program and seek recovery options, no questions asked.  To find out how click here.

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