Covington Police Chief Tim Lentz gets BGR award for opioid program

By Robert Rhoden

Source: | The Times-Picayune

May 11, 2018

Covington Police Chief Tim Lentz has received the Excellence in Government 2018 Innovation Award from the Bureau of Governmental Research for his leadership in establishing the Operation Angel Program to combat drug addiction in St. Tammany Parish.

Lentz, Covington’s police chief since October 2013, received the recognition Thursday (May 10) at a ceremony at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans.

Concerned about the opioid epidemic and its effects in St. Tammany, Lentz started the program in May 2016 with the support of other law enforcement agencies and public officials. It is the only parish in Louisiana offering the program, which Lentz had learned about from other states.

Under Operation Angel, people addicted to prescription or illegal drugs can walk into any police station and ask for help. They can surrender their drugs and be taken by a police officer to a treatment facility, without fear of arrest or prosecution.

In the first 12 months, 132 people sought help and were taken to a treatment facility by a police officer.  Since the program started, of the almost 100 people that have walked into the Covington Police Department and asked for help, 38 percent remain clean and sober today, the police department said.

St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister nominated Lentz for the award.

BGR is a non-profit, independent research organization dedicated to informed public policy making and the effective use of public resources in the New Orleans Metropolitan Area.

The Excellence in Government awards program recognizes government employees and private citizens for outstanding performance and creative problem-solving that significantly improves local governmental services.

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