Grosse Pointe Woods Public Safety to offer Hope Not Handcuffs

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published July 25, 2023

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GROSSE POINTE WOODS — Those with substance abuse problems and the people who love them will soon be able to find help getting into addiction treatment in Grosse Pointe Woods.

The Woods is the latest Grosse Pointe community to sign on with Hope Not Handcuffs, an initiative of the Clinton Township-based nonprofit Families Against Narcotics. Hope Not Handcuffs assists those who want to get help for their addiction to find treatment.

Grosse Pointe Woods native Dean Dauphinais, who now lives in Grosse Pointe City, is the communications manager for FAN. He addressed the Woods City Council during a meeting July 17. As he explained, Hope Not Handcuffs allows a person with a substance abuse problem who wants treatment to come to a designated location, typically a police station. A public safety officer or dispatcher then contacts FAN’s call center, which sends a volunteer — aka an “angel” — to the station to help the patient as the call center looks for a place where the patient can get treatment.

It’s a complicated process, as Dauphinais knows from personal experience — he has a 33-year-old son who has struggled with addiction for years. He said it’s vital to be able to get a person into treatment as soon as they say they’re ready to go.

“It’s incredibly difficult to get into treatment these days,” Dauphinais said.

He said they will “place people into treatment whether they have insurance or not.”

Since Hope Not Handcuffs was launched in 2017, Dauphinais said, the initiative has placed more than 10,000 people into treatment. He said they’ve partnered with about 135 police and public safety departments throughout Michigan.

People seeking treatment for addiction can enter Hope Not Handcuffs locations knowing that they won’t be arrested on outstanding warrants for misdemeanors or nonviolent offenses.

So that the person seeking help can go straight from the Hope Not Handcuffs location to a treatment center, Dauphinais said they maintain a bin at the Public Safety Department that contains clothing as well as personal care and hygiene items, so that the patient doesn’t need to go home to retrieve any of those types of things. An officer or dispatcher only needs to keep an eye on the person until the FAN volunteer arrives, which Dauphinais said is typically within 30 minutes. Hope Not Handcuffs has an estimated 600 volunteer “angels,” and Dauphinais said they answer more than 1,000 calls per month from people looking for help to get into treatment.

“There’s not a lot of heavy lifting for the police department,” Dauphinais said.

The Woods City Council voted unanimously in favor of entering into an agreement with Hope Not Handcuffs July 17.

The Woods joins Grosse Pointe City, Grosse Pointe Farms and Grosse Pointe Park, all of which have already agreed to partner with Hope Not Handcuffs. Grosse Pointe Shores was also considering it at press time.

City Councilman Thomas Vaughn asked if the city would be informing residents about this program.

“It’s something people need to know about,” Vaughn said.

Assistant City Administrator Susan Como said the Woods would promote Hope Not Handcuffs in a variety of ways, including through their email list news blasts.

“Information will be added to the support (page) on our (city) website,” Como added.

Dauphinais said he hoped Hope Not Handcuffs would be up and running in the Woods by the end of July, but it depends on when the department is able to schedule training for its officers.

The Woods’ participation in Hope Not Handcuffs has been in the works for months, but the timing of the council’s approval comes in the wake of a tragedy. In June, the Woods experienced three overdoses in a single day.

“A very real drug problem exists within our communities,” Woods Public Safety Director John Kosanke said in a memo to the City Council “Our participation in the Hope Not Handcuffs program is something that we can do to alleviate that problem and potentially save lives.”

FAN, Grosse Pointe Woods and The Family Center of Grosse Pointe & Harper Woods will present the town hall, “Hope in the Midst of the Opioid Crisis,” at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 9 at The War Memorial, 32 Lake Shore Road in Grosse Pointe Farms. Speakers will include Kosanke; U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison from the Department of Justice; Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Orville Greene; Grosse Pointe City Public Safety Director John Alcorn; and Dauphinais.

“Addiction is not a moral failing,” Dauphinais said. “It’s an insidious disease.”

A sub-panel will offer additional information, with perspectives from a judge, a therapist and a person in long-term recovery. Attendees will be able to ask questions as well.

“This town hall meeting is such an important event,” FAN Executive Director Linda Davis said in a press release. “Unfortunately, substance use and addiction are everywhere, and the more we know about it, the more lives we can potentially save. It’s time to talk openly and publicly about this problem that is taking so many lives much too soon.”

For more information about the town hall, visit or, or call The Family Center at (313) 447-1374.