In early 2016 the Northampton Police Department initiated the DART Officer program. It was born out of a collaborative effort with Hampshire County HOPE. The Drug Addiction Response Team (DART) members are patrol officers who volunteered to be part of this program in addition to their regular patrol duties. They attended an orientation meeting with representatives from Hampshire HOPE, Urgent Care, Tapestry Health, and Providence Hospital. They have information regarding local resources for people who are struggling with narcotics addiction. When they come in for shift each day, they review the log activities and identify people who have engaged in high risk behavior as a result of narcotics addiction. Individuals who have overdosed on narcotics, who have engaged in criminal activity as a result of their addiction, or who have verbally communicated that they need help, are examples of people who the DART officers would attempt to contact. Once identified, the officers work to find the person and meet with them. They discuss local treatment options, provide resources, and may even transport people to a local treatment facility. Ideally, contact is made as soon as is practical and within 48 hours of the initial call. Follow-up contact also occurs to provide additional support and to check the status of the individual. DART officers keep records of all of their activities.
Northampton DART officers are: Justin Hooten, Thomas Briotta, and Heather Longley.
The Northampton Police Department is committed to best serving all of our citizens. We recognize that narcotics addiction is a disease. We further recognize that attempting to provide intervention when people are at high risk is an important strategy to combat this epidemic.
*In May, 2017, the name of this program changed from Drug Abuse Response Team to Drug Addiction RecoveryTeam. The change is subtle, but the new name more accurately reflects the program.