GLOUCESTER (CBS) – In getting to know what makes Chief Leonard Campanello tick, one of the first things he said is he is not “a social media guy.”
Well, he has a funny way of showing it. His recent post on Facebook promising that any addict who walks into his police station in Gloucester with drugs will get help not handcuffs, got more than two million views.
“We can’t force anyone to come to the police station but we can offer,” Campanello told WBZ-TV’s David Wade recently.
On Monday, June 1st, his plan officially went into effect.
Chief Campanello has been a cop 26 years. He spent a long time with the narcotics unit. He came to Gloucester three years ago and fell in love.
His promise to help struggling addicts is part of that love.
Wade asked Campanello: “Do you really think you’ll start to see people walk through these doors and hand over drugs and paraphernalia?”
Campanello said, “All we can do is extend the hand of trust and make that provocative statement that we’re not going to charge you.”
The Chief has his fans, from recovering addicts who will help him reach out to addicts, to a local politician who called him a “hero.”
“I’ve stood over enough dead bodies with needles in their arms and it affects you after a while,” he said.
The Chief says he is no teddy bear. He says he is just a police officer who has just grown more compassionate and less judgmental over the years.
The program kicks off after some controversy. The District Attorney thinks promising not to arrest addicts is not a promise Campanello can legally make.