FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — People in crisis tend to avoid the cops. Drugs, warrants or just being homeless make them wary of interaction with the police.

But there are two local cops – with Vice & Narcotics at that – who are out there trying to help people with substance abuse and alcohol problems as their main focus and the associated problems that go with that lifestyle.

Typically Jeremy Ormiston, an FWPD detective with HART (Hope and Recovery Team), follows up on non-fatal drug overdoses with his partner the department wants to remain unnamed.

But the outreach doesn’t stop there. Wednesday, HART was present at Street Outreach in the spacious parking lot of Trinity English Lutheran Church on Washington Boulevard downtown.

The team including supervisor, Capt. Kevin Hunter, is there to get their name and mission out there. Street Outreach is a partnership between the church and Connect Allen County, a service that’s been in place for a year setting up people with a navigator to access counseling, family support, food, healthcare and housing, among other resources.

“What we’re mainly doing is reaching out, getting our team’s name out, and get people to understand even though I work on the police department, we’re not out to get people in trouble,” Ormiston explained. “We’re actually trying to get them into services to help lead them into any kind of clean living, sobriety they want to do.

”We’re not out here to arrest them for anything. We’re out her to try to get them into services they want to participate in. We don’t force anyone to participate in anything and just to have a conversation about  what do you need, what can we help you do to get on the path that you want to be on,” Ormiston said.

Wednesday was a beautiful day and the number of people showing up at the free food truck for a combo plate of sausage and fries smothered in melted cheese went way beyond the typical 25 people who come. It was more like 70 people, said Kristy Lindeman, coordinator at Connect Allen County.

Connect Allen County is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., located in the old Sears building on Rudisill Boulevard behind South Side High School. The staff of five attend events to spread the word.

The greatest need was housing, but in the year after Connect Allen County opened, housing and food share the top spot.

“People are seeing that with the inflation rate and the high cost of living that food stamps are really only lasting about two weeks,” Lindeman said Wednesday.

Janet Altmeyer, director of city ministry at Trinity English Lutheran Church, said the church started hosting Street Outreach this summer. The food truck is open at the parking lot every Wednesday, except the third Wednesday when another event, Handing Out Hope, takes place at the downtown Allen County Library with many community support groups there to offer help. Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

“By getting connected with Connect Allen County, people can get easier access to community support services in these areas  and someone to walk along side them as they try to get a better, more secure footing during times when there’s a lot of change and stress,” Altmeyer said.

Ormiston said HART can help with in-patient and out-patient services and often, transportation.

“They know what they need to do. They just need to get there,” Ormiston said. HART also will help get people connected with health insurance. “We just try to take out stops that would keep someone from a path that they want to life their life.”

One example is a man who overdosed nine times. HART, that includes social worker Darcy Robins, visited him each time he lapsed. It was getting discouraging until he contacted HART to say  he was ready for help.

“Guys come get me. I’m ready to go. I’m going to kill myself if I keep doing this,” he told them. “He knew that we were there for him every single time,” Ormiston said.