Picketers gathered outside the Butler County Sheriff’s Office in Hamilton on Tuesday, protesting his stance prohibiting his deputies from using Narcan to treat overdose cases.
Sheriff Richard Jones has said in recent days that he will not allow deputies to use Narcan on opioid overdose victims. In Butler County, only one law enforcement agency, Miami University Police, have officers equipped with Narcan.
Tuesday’s protest at the sheriff’s office complex comes three days after picketers stood outside the Government Services Center on High Street protesting the same policy.
Jones said he does not mind the protests, but it has not changed his mind.
“I hope while they are going through our county that they spend money here, by food, gas and other things to help our tax base,” said Butler County Sheriff Jones about the protest.
Jones said he wished them well, noting it is part of what makes the county great - the right to peaceful protest.
“I have marched in my day,” Jones said.
About 25 people stood near the entrance of the sheriff’s office, where they were advised by administration that they could enter the lobby and stand in the shade if they did not block the entrance.
Nicole Walmsley, who has been sober for 4 1/2 years, was one of the organizers. She said the protest initially was organized to attend Middletown City Council’s meeting Tuesday night in protest of statements made by Dan Picard inquiring if EMS could refuse to respond to overdose calls in light of the mounting cost of overdose calls on public services.
But Walmsley said Middletown Mayor Larry Mulligan has agreed to meet with them in a couple weeks to discuss the issue, so they canceled that protest.
Many were in the area from as far away as Akron and Cleveland, so Walmsley said the decided to bring their message to the sheriff.
“I pushed people to come here instead,” Walmsley said after hearing Jones’ comments.
She said it is people like the sheriff who breed hate by picking and choosing who to save.
“We should be equipping ourselves with the tools to save a life,” Walmsley said.
Hamilton’s Yvette Sales joined the protesters, saying, “I am completely against the cops not carrying Narcan.”
“They are sworn in to help protect our community. When you use Narcan, you are protecting a life, you are saving a life. Everybody’s life matters.”