HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – A new collaboration between police and behavioral health experts in Holyoke is working to deter crime by paving a path of hope.

A news conference was held with Sheriff Nick Cocchi and Holyoke Police Chief David Pratt Tuesday where they discussed a collaboration called Hope through Help.

The Hampden County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Robert Rizzuto told 22News, that the Hope through Help initiative is to offer help to people struggling with substance use disorder. The community outreach will have teams located on different streets in some of Holyoke’s most difficult neighborhoods to offer assistance with addiction treatment as well as mental health services through the Behavioral Health Network.

“We have to engage. We have to offer hope and we have to do it through helping people. Not chasing them. Not locking them up But offering a hand of hope and resources,” said Sheriff Cocchi.

The services offered to those in need goes beyond Holyoke residents. Anyone the team encounters who’s in need but from out of town is immediately referred to the Hampden County Addiction Task Force Rapid Response team.

Mental health services are available through Behavioral Health Network located at 121 Elm Street in Holyoke. Treatment is available to anyone suffering addiction regardless of the inability to pay for services. For more information call 413-246-9675.

24/7 crisis helpline at 413-733-6661 for all ages

Behavioral Health Network

In March, Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia joined members of the police department to address reports of illegal narcotics being sold in the area of 291 to 298 Elm Street. Holyoke police say Elm Street has been plagued with illegal narcotics and gun violence and it’s affecting the quality of life in neighborhoods throughout the city.

City services were strengthened to hold property owners accountable to obligations and residents of the city. The mayor’s goal was to establish an environment of collaboration between stakeholders to make all accountable to better the needs of Holyoke citizens.

Programs and agencies are designed for individuals who have a drug addiction. Holyoke Police Department Chief David Pratt discussed the variety of resources that are offered for citizens in need of help. Programs revolve around those that are addicted, suffer from mental health, at-risk youth, and citizens returning to the community that spent time in the correction system.

Resources are to help all addicts, but the city continues to push to make drug trafficking come to an end in order for citizens to feel safer.

If citizens of Holyoke are suspicious of any criminal activity, Text A Tip can be used by texting crimes to 247-637. Followed by typing “solve” and then your message.