Two formerly incarcerated men walk into a police station …

March 12, 2024

By John Fabricius (Leading with Conviction™ 2024 participant):

Two formerly imprisoned men walked into a police station …

Sounds like a set up for a punchline or the opening sentence to an urgent breaking news report. This was neither. This was something very different.

To say it was surreal stepping into a police department without handcuffs — much less the main meeting room during a shift briefing — is a tad of an understatement. It was well beyond surreal, and it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

This wasn’t just any visit, and this isn’t just any police station. We were there to witness something extraordinary — the power of bridging divides. My friend and Dream.org Justice Team colleague John Bowman (pictured above), has been on the leading edge of the vanguard creating real change, of showing us all how empathy in action can unite communities and save lives.

We were there to share in the celebration of Mr. Corey Councill. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear gave a special honor to Corey, a substance abuse treatment specialist embedded with the Georgetown PD, recognizing his incredible work and the innovative program being implemented where the focus is on saving lives and finding effective solutions to address addiction and substance abuse disorder in the area hit hardest by the opiate crisis.

This is a big step forward in the future of public safety and public health.

It’s about tearing down walls — walls between law enforcement and those they serve, especially individuals facing substance abuse disorders. Thanks to innovative approaches like this one, these barriers are coming down in Kentucky, paving the way for healing, support, treatment, and hope.

A special shoutout to the incredible officers, Patrick Nevitt and Jason Christopher, for their unwavering commitment to this cause, working alongside formerly incarcerated individuals like John and treatment specialists like Corey, fighting to make this program work is nothing short of inspiring.

They have realized that effective policing means working with the community, understanding addiction, and finding solutions that work instead of the endless cycle of arrest, conviction, and release without addressing root causes. It’s a major paradigm shift with a focus on saving lives not filling prison beds. This is a big step forward in the future of public safety and public health.

As someone that spent 15 years in prison, standing in that briefing room felt beyond surreal. But it filled me with hope. Change is possible when we choose empathy and collaboration over division.

This experience has reinforced my belief in the power of community, understanding, and reform. Together, with leaders like John Bowman and the dedicated, solutions-focused officers and administrators at Georgetown PD, we can transform our approach to justice and safety, close prison doors, save lives, and open up doors of opportunity for all!

(Photos above by John Fabricius / used by permission)

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