COLD SPRING, N.Y. -- U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler and local police chiefs called for the passage of Maloney's bipartisan legislation to combat the opioid and heroin crisis and stop mass incarceration of abusers and low-level drug offenders, according to an announcement.
The Keeping Communities Safe Through Treatment Act would create a Department of Justice grant program to fund pre-booking drug diversion programs.
The measure would give law enforcement the option of diverting individuals directly to treatment instead of booking them, in counties designated as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA).
Maloney has secured HIDTA designations for Putnam and Dutchess counties, in addition to Orange and Westchester counties, according to a release.
"In many of our communities law enforcement officers are on the front lines of both crime and treatment and this legislation provides them with a critical tool to divert these individuals to treatment instead of chronically arresting them,” said Maloney.
The legislation would award grants to assist law enforcement agencies in providing pre-booking diversion programs developed with local drug treatment programs and local prosecutors to address low-level drug crimes.
The program would allow law enforcement officers, at their discretion, to redirect low-level offenders engaged in drug activity to community-based services, instead of jail and prosecution.
The legislation would also allow the Attorney General to collect first-of-its-kind data on these programs.
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