Officer Jeff Harness draws praise for helping victims of drug epidemic

Officer Jeff Harness of the Berea Police Department was publicly thanked by a local mother, whose son fell victim to the drug epidemic. She said Harness showed compassion in a difficult situation and he helped her find the resources to help get her son on the road to recovery.

Officer Jeff Harness of the Berea Police Department drew praise recently when a citizen revealed how Harness assisted her and her son, who had fallen victim to the drug abuse epidemic.

Berea City Council member Cora Jane Wilson referenced the story during last week’s meeting of the Berea City Council. Wilson told about a chance meeting at Wal-Mart, in which a mother told Wilson how Harness had helped the woman’s son in the wake of a drug overdose.

Wilson said the story was so uplifting, she asked the woman, who was unidentified, to share her story with Berea Police Chief David Gregory, Mayor Bruce Fraley and the Berea City Council. Wilson read the following letter at last Tuesday’s business session.

“To whom it may concern:

So many times we hear more negative comments about our law enforcement and drug problems in our community. I would like to express my gratitude to an individual that not only encouraged me, but gave me hope, wisdom and resources to not only help my son, but to help me as well.

Officer Harness of the Berea Police Department was the officer who came to the hospital the night my son overdosed. He was kind and compassionate. He didn’t speak to me as if my son was just another addict that overdosed.”

The letter continues in which the mother told of how Harness explained addiction, and how profoundly it probably affected her son’s behavior. The mother said Harness’s words and concern had a special meaning for her.

“I can never thank Officer Harness enough because he gave a desperate and hurting mother of an addict hope and the ability to understand how to get help, not only for my son, but for myself. I am happy to report that after my son overdosing, he’s turned his life around, and now holds a full time job. He has his own home and pays his own bills. These things seem so normal for the rest of us. But my son could not do any of these while he was using. He has been sober for nine months, thanks to a rehab program and both of us being in counseling. My son wanted to be clean, but it’s not easy without the resources to help.

“Thanks to Officer Harness for informing me on these resources available for both of us to seek the help that we so desperately needed. I also want to encourage any parent of a child with drug addiction to please seek help for yourself, because I thought my love and support was enough to make him stop using, but it’s not. We have to stand together to help one another.

“Thank you for taking the time to read my letter, and for allowing me to thank a police officer who took the time to help not only my son but his mother,” Wilson concluded.

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