How Safe Call Now is helping LEOs fight addiction
The service is a comprehensive, 24-hour crisis referral service for all public safety employees, all emergency services personnel and their family members nationwide
There are police officers that are using drugs. I ignored that fact for most of my career. I felt that cops were invincible and could not succumb to the evils of drugs. Then I became a Drug Recognition Expert and was confronted with reality. Since then, I have arrested more than one cop for being under the influence. It hurt me each time it happened. I just couldn’t believe that an officer would use.
Where can cops go to if they find themselves being held hostage by addiction? I recently met with Sean Riley, the founder of Safe Call Now. Sean had a storied career as a deputy sheriff in San Diego County and then as a police officer in Washington State. His prominent career in law enforcement ended in 2005 when he could no longer hide his secret behind the badge.
Sean threw away his almost 20-year stellar police career due to alcohol and drug addiction and was headed towards suicide to become just another statistic. Then he became a supervisor at a local drug treatment center. It was at that center that he witnessed local law enforcement officers coming in for treatment for substance abuse and was inspired to start Safe Call Now.
Law enforcement has always had higher rates of suicide than the general public, higher rates of divorce, and higher rates of alcoholism. Why would drug abuse be any different? The problem, though, that law enforcement officers have that the general public doesn’t is the difficulty in coming forward with their problem.
Sean founded Safe Call Now so that officers could seek help in a confidential manner nationwide. Their board of directors includes Sergeant Betsy Brantner Smith and Lieutenant Randy Sutton and their advisory board includes Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman and Captain Gordon Graham.
If an officer needs help with guaranteed confidentiality, they can call 206-459-3020. The service is a comprehensive, 24-hour crisis referral service for all public safety employees, all emergency services personnel and their family members nationwide. That first call will start a referral to treat the officer that is in crisis.
I met Sean at Bayside Marin in San Rafael, California. Bayside is a center that specializes in addiction recovery. When I got there, I met a police officer who is married to another officer who was being treated for alcohol addiction. The officer told me that they called Safe Call Now for her significant other, who was in crisis because of alcohol abuse. It was obvious how difficult that this had been on their family. It struck me, as I talked to the officer, that it was like talking to my beat partner. The officer received counseling as well with other family members who had loved ones in detox.
A Renowned Team
What sets Safe Call Now apart from other referral resources for police officers is their ability to network and partner with the highest level of quality providers in the world for LEOs. In doing so, they work with a nationally renowned placement and evaluation team for first responders led by Janelle Cronk.
The facility where police officers go to live for 30 days while they detox with Janelle and Sean is like a luxury resort. It’s a peaceful compound atop a hill in Marin County overlooking the San Francisco Bay. It is here that cops will learn to live with their addiction. When they leave in 30 days, they continue to receive support from Bayside for as long as they need it.
The CEO of Bayside, Joe Tinervin, talked about the number of law enforcers that come to the facility for help and the drugs that they are addicted to. There are officers with alcohol dependency, officers addicted to heroin, meth, coke, and pills. Joe is very astute about the problems law enforcers encounter and the problems with them coming forward for help. In essence, Bayside knows exactly how to treat cops with addiction problems and the need to get them back up and running and back to the street.
It all starts with a phone call. If you or another officer needs help, call Safe Call Now at 206-459-3020. You will be given a referral for help, your information will remain confidential and you will start on the road to sobriety.