Last year, the Rhinelander Common Council voted to fund the addition of a recovery coach with the city police department.
At a recent council meeting, Detective Sergeant Josh Chiamulera said the innovative position has worked well. The coach goes with police on calls where drugs or alcohol is an issue. He says they partnered with the Marshfield Clinic in an effort to get the person to the services they need.
"Basically from October until February our coach was able to make contact and be introduced to a little over 60 people in town. They came from a wide variety of education and age levels really..."
He says the contacts also included getting support for family members of those persons with an issue. He says three people checked themselves into some form of treatment. He says the coach has been with them on patrol...
"So I have taken my coach with me on calls if I know it's going to be a safe environment for him and introduce him immediately. I'm also getting referrals from other officers now..."
Eagle River also had a similar program with Marshfield Clinic. Chiamulera says 250 hours of work went toward getting people help. He says they also did public outreach programs, including the person working with the Oneida County Health Department.
Chiamulera says he's hoping to get $6,000 from the city to fund the program for next year and has been successful getting grants to offset the cost.