New Castle, DE – New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer applauded the members of the New Castle County’s Hero Help program on their much deserved recognition by Governor John Carney and First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney as Compassionate Champion Award winners. The Hero Help Behavioral Health Unit was awarded first in the First Responder category.
“We are extremely proud of what the New Castle County Police Department’s Hero Help Program has been able to accomplish in such a short time,” said County Executive Meyer. “What started out as grassroots, volunteer effort under County Executive Gordon's leadership has become a critical component of compassionate law enforcement with specially trained officers working in partnership with expertly trained civilian specialists to address the disease of addiction. This is a program that needs to be replicated around the country. Congratulations to Col. Bond, Dan Maas, Lori Kane, Lt. Allen Herring and our unique Behavioral Health Unit on their extraordinary and selfless efforts.”
“We are very honored to be a recipient of Governor Carney’s 2021 Compassionate Champion Award for our Behavioral Health Unit (BHU),” said New Castle County Police’s Major Wendi Feeser. “The New Castle County Division of Police recognizes that mental health and addiction impact the lives of many citizens we serve in numerous ways. It is our goal to assist those who are experiencing hardship, along with their families, and get them all the help, assistance, and services they need in an expeditious manner. While we have formed the BHU to lead this endeavor, we also provide all our officers with additional training to better equip them to respond to these dynamic and often fluid calls for assistance.”
Hero Help was announced in 2016 as a new program under the Thomas P. Gordon administration as a partnership with Department of Health and Social Services, Delaware Department of Justice, and Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. It was not until 2017 in the Meyer administration and under Col. Vaughn Bond when the Hero Help received financial funding to support a full-time addiction coordinator and dedicated officers and mental and addiction crisis trained officers to increase capabilities within the special unit.
“While our team had the initial vision for Hero Help, I am thankful to the Meyer administration for continuing to push for funding, believing in the unit, and making sure it didn’t just continue, but that it flourished. Congratulations to the team on their award,” said former County Executive Thomas P. Gordon. “It is inspiring to know that a program like this is here to help County residents who are suffering from addiction and behavioral crises.”
In 2020, the Hero Help mental health team addressed more than 1,300 incidents for those dealing with mental illness, diverted 49 people from incarceration, 136 from hospitalization. The Hero Help addiction team enrolled 98 into the Hero Help program, encountered more than 400 in non-fatal overdose outreach, and distributed life-saving Narcan 82 times.
To celebrate the award recipients, a virtual celebration event will take place on Thursday, June 3 at 6:00 p.m. The event will be livestreamed and shared to New Castle County’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/nccde.
About Hero Help
The HERO HELP Program is a collaboration between the Division of Police, the Delaware Department of Justice and the State Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health to provide drug and/or alcohol addiction treatment to qualifying adults who contact the police and ask for treatment, or to individuals in lieu of an immediate arrest for lesser crimes. The goal of the HERO HELP program is to not depend on criminal arrests alone to combat addiction and the crime it causes. Instead, the HERO HELP Program can provide a greater opportunity for those seeking treatment to overcome their addiction and prevent individuals from engaging in criminal activity to support their addiction.
About the Compassionate Champion Award
The purpose of the Compassionate Champion Award is to recognize outstanding achievement by both individuals and organizations in providing trauma-informed services. Delaware is committed to ensuring that environments that serve children and adults in our state are working to embody these practices of trauma-informed care:
- creating respectful, sensitive, and culturally competent environments;
- implementing evidence-based trauma-informed principles and practices that address the effects associated with trauma;
- developing a common language and framework for dialogue and discussion to enhance communication and progress along the continuum of trauma-informed care;
- increasing the effectiveness and responsiveness of all services and assistance provided to Delawareans, especially children and adults who have experienced traumatic circumstances.
The award is based on the criteria in the Delaware Developmental Framework for Trauma-Informed Care. It is important to note that progressing through the continuum from one level to the next will take time and cannot be accomplished through one activity. This award recognizes those individuals or organizations that have taken steps toward providing services in a manner consistent with trauma-informed care.