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Gloucester police chief receives White House award

Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello will be honored at the White House Friday for his effort to reach out to people struggling with drug addiction instead of shuttling them into the criminal justice system.
Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello will be honored at the White House Friday for his effort to reach out to people struggling with drug addiction instead of shuttling them into the criminal justice system. Dina Rudick/Globe Staff

Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello was honored at the White House on Friday as a “Champion of Change’’ for his effort to reach out to people struggling with drug addiction instead of shuttling them into the criminal justice system.

Campanello was selected from among 920 candidates, according to a department statement.

Last year, Campanello launched the Angel Initiative, which allows addicts to walk into the police station with drugs or needles without fear of facing criminal charges.

Instead, they are 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, the department said.

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