BOSTON — Executive Director Allie Hunter and Co-Founder and Board Chair John Rosenthal announce that P.A.A.R.I. is partnering with four police departments and local experts to provide training on behavioral health and substance use disorder.
Training will take place on Thursday, June 3, 2021, in Coolidge Hall at the Topsfield Fairgrounds. Training will be provided by P.A.A.R.I and Middleton Family Medicine, in partnership with the Hamilton, Middleton, Topsfield and Wenham Police Departments.
About 130 law enforcement officers for those departments will take part in one of two sessions, held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5-9 p.m.
Topics will include behavioral health statistics, disorders and medications; suicide and prevention; substance use and recovery; de-escalation techniques; Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; and officer wellness and resources.
P.A.A.R.I. Board Member Steve Jesi also will share his family’s personal story with addiction.
“With a nationwide increase of police calls for service in the area of mental health, substance use and suicide, we in law enforcement recognize a need for continual training in this area,” Hamilton Police Chief Russell Stevens said. “The Hamilton, Wenham, Middleton and Topsfield police chiefs, in conjunction with Kimberly Seaward, Director of Behavioral Health and Addiction Services at Middleton Family Medicine, and Allie Hunter of P.A.A.R.I., are working together to provide this much-needed training for our officers.”
“Our goal is to support police officers with training and resources that will allow for improved mental health and substance abuse treatment,” said Kimberly Seaward, PMHNP-BC, Director of Behavioral Health and Addiction Medicine at Middleton Family Medicine. “They will be able to provide alternatives to the Emergency Room and criminal justice system, which may not be required or appropriate. We hope this is the first step in a longstanding partnership that will expand knowledge as well as access to treatment for mental health and substance use disorders on the North Shore.”
“P.A.A.R.I. is grateful to be able to provide these training sessions, which will help officers recognize mental health and substance use challenges, both their own and within the community they serve,” Director Hunter said.
The Police Assisted Addiction & Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to help law enforcement agencies nationwide create non-arrest pathways to treatment and recovery. Founded alongside the groundbreaking Gloucester, Mass. Police Department Angel Initiative in June 2015, P.A.A.R.I. has been a driving force behind this rapidly expanding community policing movement. We provide technical assistance, coaching, grants, and other capacity-building resources to more than 600 police departments in 35 states. We currently work with more than 130 law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts alone. P.A.A.R.I. and our law enforcement partners are working towards a collective vision where non-arrest diversion programs become a standard policing practice across the country, thereby reducing overdose deaths, expanding access to treatment, improving public safety, reducing crime, diverting people away from the criminal justice system, and increasing trust between law enforcement and their communities. Our programs and partners have saved thousands of lives, changed police culture, reshaped the national conversation about the opioid epidemic and have placed over 24,000 people into treatment since its founding in June 2015. Learn more at paariusa.org.