Safe Passages Initiative


The Safe Passages Initiative launched August 25, 2016 as a response to the opioid crisis devastating our country.  Designed as a law enforcement-led collaborative response, the program has been recognized as an innovation in community partnerships addressing a public health crisis.  The Initiative was originally developed by the Berea and Olmsted Township Police Departments, in coordination with a public advocate, Nicole Walmsley.

The intent was to design Safe Passages as a model that could be scaled to work within the resources of any community.  Since the program’s inception, Safe Passages is now utilized in 14 communities in the Greater Cleveland Area.  The vision statement for Safe Passages is:

A community based partnership between law enforcement, courts, treatment providers, hospitals, educational institutions, and social services to facilitate treatment for those addicted to heroin or opiates”

Safe Passages opens the front door of law enforcement agencies as access points for treatment services.  Once at the station, a program participant meets with an officer to begin the process.  The participant is then paired with a Peer Support Specialist who assists in determining placement for detox or treatment services.  One hallmark of the Initiative, is working to assist those that are in most dire need.  We assist the participants with overcoming common barriers to treatment, such as, transportation, identification, insurance and other issues. 

Each person is unique, therefore their needs are unique.  Safe Passages is a flexible program, designed to be meet the needs of the individual.  Through public donations, Safe Passages has purchased food, clothing, and personal hygiene items for participants, in addition to transportation, identification and temporary housing costs.  Chief Joe Grecol felt the program could have a ripple effect in the community and stated,

“By helping those suffering from addiction, we are helping the community heal.  We help those addicted; their friends, their families and by extension the entire community”

For further information, please contact Sgt. Patrick Greenhill at 440-826-5870 or