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Former Ky. police officer leaves the force to help people find treatment for addiction

Published: Sep. 6, 2021 at 4:17 PM EDT
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BEATTYVILLE, Ky. (WKYT) - A Beattyville police officer left the force to help people in recovery.

Eddie Dunahoo arrested several people battling addiction during his time working for the Beattyville Police Department. He said many of them were repeat offenders.

“You see a whole lot of very sad things, people in addiction, usually at a very low point in their life, arresting the same people over and over again a lot,” Dunahoo said.

He said the cycle seemed never-ending.

“At that point, I thought a whole lot of, ‘why can’t these people change?’ I was close-minded,” he said.

It was a trip to an Addiction Recovery Care (ARC) treatment center that changed the way he saw people and policing.

“I had a friend that worked for Operation Unite and she did site visits a lot,” Dunahoo said. “I went to multiple ARC facilities touring with them, then I came to Carpenter’s Village.”

Beneath the trees at an abandoned campsite in Booneville is where men find treatment. After his tour and meetings with the director, Dunahoo decided to leave policing and took on the job as residential coordinator of Carpenter’s Village.

“They’re just getting their mind clear, the fog’s kind of going away from the drugs,” Dunahoo said. “We get to see when the light kind of comes on, as I like to say.”

He said the people at Carpenter’s Village feel like family to him.

“Bringing the clients into this kind of atmosphere, they feel the love that we all have and we love them back to life,” Dunahoo said.

Dunahoo also works with the Owsley County Sheriff’s Department part-time. He said, instead of people running away from him in uniform, they rely on him for help.

“Most people in addiction don’t want to talk to a police officer about it, but usually if I use tools that I’ve learned in ARC’s Recovery Connector class to tell them I’m trying to help them at that time, they usually come around,” Dunahoo said.

He said there’s no arresting the way out of addiction. He’s helping the men find freedom once the smoke clears.

“It’s just amazing to see the transformation of these guys from day one,” Dunahoo said.

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