MORRIS COUNTY — On April 2, 2021, officials gathered at JFK Park in Dover to recognize the fourth year of service for the Morris County Sheriff Office’s Hope One mobile outreach program, launched by Sheriff James M. Gannon on April 3, 2017.
Speakers included Congressman Tom Malinowski, Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, New Jersey Senator Anthony Bucco, Assemblywomen Betty Lou DeCroce and Aura Dunn, Dover Mayor Carolyn Blackman, Dover Deputy Chief Jonathan Delaney, Morris County Commissioner Director Stephen H. Shaw, Morris County Commissioner Thomas J. Mastrangelo, Deputy Director Deborah Smith, Family Promise of Morris County CEO Joann Bjornson, Mental Health Association of Essex & Morris CEO Robert Davison, Center for Addiction, Recovery, Education & Success (CARES) Director Melody Runyon and Hope One Coordinator Cpl. Erica Valvano.
Representing the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office were Acting Morris County Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll, Chief of Detectives Chris Kimker, Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Brad Seabury, and Sergeant Patrick LaGuerre.
The Morris County Sheriff’s Office Hope One mobile outreach program launched using an old SWAT vehicle that was repainted white and purple and emblazoned with the logos of all the partners: Morris County Sheriff’s Office, Morris County Department of Human Services, Family Promise of Morris County, the Center for Addiction Recovery, Education & Success (CARES), the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris and Daytop-NJ.
Since its launch, the Hope One team has made over 17,600 community contacts and trained 3,149 people in the use of life-saving Narcan. Hope One vehicle go to locations in Morris County that are known to have at-risk populations, homeless individuals, and histories of drug transactions and overdose deaths. Offering immediate services to persons suffering from substance use disorder and opportunities to connect with recovery resources, Hope One deployed a second vehicle in August 2020. Earlier this spring, a new sweeping program was announced that combines the expertise and resources of multiple public service agencies to help vulnerable and at-risk people find the assistance they need, from homeless solutions and addiction treatment to mental health counseling or a combination of services. Hope Hub will be a multidisciplinary panel made up of members of law enforcement, social services, mental health services, healthcare providers, treatment providers and recovery specialists. Individuals and families struggling with problems referred to the Hope Hub panel will be connected to life-changing services. The panel will determine what public services would best help an individual brought to their attention, and the panel will work together to determine if a situation requires a welfare visit or an intervention.
Acting Prosecutor Carroll recognized the Hope One team’s hard work and dedication, especially the vision of Sheriff Gannon in launching the program.
Acting Prosecutor Carroll stated, “Sheriff Gannon, you should be very proud of what this program has accomplished. Hope One’s successes not only demonstrate the effectiveness of the program but literally, fit the definition of ‘hope,’ and they continue to expand. Newly developed programs which include the teaming up of our addiction and mental health resources with law enforcement, judicial professionals, and other community services and organizations have now taken shape. In addition, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has directed the formation of a statewide mental health steering committee, which in turn will work with the county prosecutor’s offices to establish county-level mental health working groups, coordinating the key mental health resource programs to increase utilization and broaden services.”