Law Enforcement Supports Harm Reduction
“Syringe Decriminalization takes dirty needles off the streets by allowing drug users and diabetics to dispose of syringes legally and therefore increases the safety of our police officers. Syringe Decriminalization saves money and lives, protects law enforcement from needlesticks, and increases public safety. Scientific research strongly supports this policy, as do many in law enforcement. Now is the time to lift legal barriers to decriminalizing syringes.”
Bob Scott, former Captain with the Macon County Sheriff’s Office
“Getting stuck by a needle was one of the scariest moments of my career…I believe a combination of harm reduction programs and syringe decriminalization will make a vast difference in the lives of law enforcement officers. I think officers need to know how to safely handle paraphernalia and needles. They need to know when to wear gloves and when to take extra precautions.” – Jen “Crash” Earls, former police officer residing in Durham, North Carolina.
“The first law of law enforcement is to come home safe at the end of the day.”
Captain Sonny Leeper, Police Captain. Albuquerque Police Department
“One Needlestick to any North Carolina Officer is one too many. Law Enforcement and the communities they serve need to rise up to demand support for syringe decriminalization, which can reduce needlesticks to Law Enforcement by 66%.”
Robert Childs, NCHRC Executive Director, Concord, NC, Police Department Training, December 2011
“Drug addiction is a serious problem, but I believe in helping people. Harm reduction is a win-win situation because not only do these programs help protect officers from needlesticks, they also create an opportunity for dialogue that can lead to rehabilitation for drug users. It’s important for officers to see themselves as part of creating solutions to community issues, and not just booking crimes.”
- Cpl/Deputy Sheriff D.A. Jackson officer in the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department for 18 years.
“I’ve been stuck by needles and cut by broken crack pipes and razors while on duty. We had to search people so quickly, it was easy to touch something dangerous. If one of us got stuck, we might report it to a superior officer so he could write an exposure report, or we might not. I never sought treatment for needlesticks because we were supposed to be tough guys, you know. We’d get cut and move on.”
– Jen “Crash” Earls, former police officer residing in Durham, North Carolina.
“One of the main components of a law enforcement officer’s job is to conduct searches. We search people, homes, vehicles, and storage compartments; we stick our hands in places most people wouldn’t think to touch, and in every search we are at risk for needle-sticks and contracting infectious diseases. I support harm reduction programs because I’ll advocate for anything that protects my life and the lives of my fellow officers.”
-Cpl/Deputy Sheriff D.A. Jackson has served in law enforcement for over 26 years, 18 in the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department, and she supports harm reduction.
“Syringe decriminalization is good in that they help reduce risks for police officers when they go out on calls. I personally do not believe that syringe decriminalization increase drug use but make officers safer. This would also be an important health improvement for our communities, because syringe decriminalization is proven to decrease HIV and viral hepatitis B & C .”
- Cynthia Sullivan, Victim Assistance Coordinator, Police Department, Winston-Salem, N.C., January 2012
“Several years ago we had an outbreak of hepatitis from sharing syringes. Hepatitis C costs over $100,000 to treat and over $400,000 if it requires a liver transplant, thus it was a great expense to the state and the taxpayers of Macon County. Syringe Decriminalization could of prevented these costs by providing injection drug users syringe access, encouraged them to safely dispose of their dirty needles off the streets and increase the safety of our police officers.”
- Bob Scott, former Captain with the Macon County Sheriff’s Office.
“Officers in areas with harm reduction programs are safer because even if they accidently get stuck by a needle during searches, that needle is less likely to be infected with a disease. I get it. Unfortunately many cops have tunnel vision. They think only of stopping illegal activity, not about how the illegality of something might affect public health.”
– Jeff Riorden, former police officer residing in Durham, North Carolina.
“Based upon the literature that’s been presented to me, Syringe Decriminalization would not appear to increase crime and/or drug abuse, but rather greatly enhance officer and public safety.”
- Cpl/Deputy Sheriff D. A. Jackson, Background Investigator, Guildford County Sheriff’s Office, Greensboro, N.C., March 2011