By O'Ryan Johnson

Gloucester police Chief Leonard Campanello, who rose to national prominence for spearheading a treatment-based approach to handling the city's opioid crisis, was placed on paid leave yesterday amid an unspecified investigation, the city's mayor said.

"Right now, he is on administrative leave pending an investigation" Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken said when reached at her home last night.

She refused to answer follow-up questions about the nature of the investigation.

Campanello was hired as the city's police chief in 2012 after 23 years with the Saugus Police Department. Responding to a surge in heroin abuse, Campanello announced he would no longer arrest heroin users if they agreed to seek treatment.

In 2015, he created the Police Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative to "bridge the gap between the police department and opioid addicts seeking recovery," according to the group's website. As opioid abuse runs rampant across the country, dozens of police departments nationwide have joined the group.

Campanello could not be reached for comment last night.

(c)2016 the Boston Herald