CHICAGO (CBS) — The police chief in Riverside said he received angry calls after his officers revived a man who probably would have died of a heroin overdose over the weekend.
Police Chief Tom Weitzel said his officers have had a few saves using the opioid-overdose antidote, but this was a first.
On Monday, the day after the most recent case he received three calls – two males and one female.
“They did not identify themselves as residents, or not residents, but they were very angry and they wanted to know why I would expense dollars, time and effort to have my officers safe ‘drug addicts.’ And I was just amazed that I received these phones calls and they were very angry,” Weitzel said.
First he said grant money pays for it and he said ethically, if a police officer can save a life – and they are almost always there before paramedics – they absolutely should.
“It was actually very angry and I thought to myself, I tried to get a word in. I told the one gentleman, ‘if this was your son or daughter, or even a family member or relative, you would not be calling me and you would not be speaking like this.’ They wanted me to direct my officers to stop carrying the Narcan. They were very clear – we should not be doing it, we should not be saving what they determined to be ‘drug addicts.’ And they kept using that word, ‘drug addict,’” Weitzel said.
He said there is no politics in saving lives and thinks it’s absurd that people complained.