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Gloucester police chief to be honored at White House

Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello spoke to an officer in his office. Campanello is set to be honored at the White House next week as an “Champion of Change.” Dina Rudick/Globe Staff

Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello, who charted a new course for law enforcement by offering those struggling with substance abuse a helping hand instead of handcuffs, will be honored at the White House next week as a “Champion of Change.”

“This is a monumental honor that is very legitimizing for the efforts being made by law enforcement to take a stand against the disease of addiction,” Campanello said Friday in a prepared statement.

Campanello was selected from among 920 candidates, according to a department statement. White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said Campanello has helped thousands of people on the North Shore and his concepts have inspired change across the nation.


“His work is a model for our police stations and neighborhoods,’’ Jarrett said in a statement. “We look forward to honoring Leonard.”

Last year, Campanello launched the Angel Initiative, which allowed addicts to walk into the police station with drugs or needles without fear of facing criminal charges. Instead, they were assigned an “angel” to steer them into drug treatment programs.

Campanello then joined with businessman John Rosenthal to launch the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative, which has helped launch similar programs in nearly 100 police departments in 22 states, according to a department statement.

John R. Ellement can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.