CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Funded through a grant from the Nueces County Hospital District, the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI) partnered with Operation 2 Save Lives (O2SL) and QRT National to host an Introduction to Deflection, Situational Awareness, and De-Escalation Strategies training course on November 30, 2022.
The training was attended by law enforcement, public health, behavioral health and community-based professionals from Nueces County Constables Precincts 2 & 5, Corpus Christi Police Department, The Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Coastal Bend, Corpus Christi Nueces County Public Health Department, Cenikor, Nueces County Commissioner’s Office, Corpus Christi Independent School District Police Department, Nueces County and Nueces Center for Mental Health & Intellectual Disabilities.
“Deflection and de-escalation tactics are crucial within law enforcement, but also among public and behavioral health professions,” said Dr. Xavier Gonzales, Nueces County Hospital District.
“The Nueces County Hospital District is pleased to fund this important training as a part of the Hospital District’s mental health program support,” said Dr. Jonny Hipp Administrator/CEO of the District.
The course was co-instructed by Scott Allen, retired Chief of Police from Massachusetts and currently Chief Operating Officer of O2SL & QRT National, Kevin Rosario, Director of Community Outreach at Gosnold Behavioral Health in Massachusetts and Brittney Garrett, PAARI’s Director of Public Safety Training & Outreach.
The agenda included overviews on deflection pathways, substance use disorder, stigma and harm reduction. Attendees also learned about situational awareness and de-escalation strategies for law enforcement, and why these tactics are important when working with drug exposed children with adverse childhood experiences. The day closed with a scenario-based role playing exercise and Q&A session.
“We are thrilled to work together in collaboration with police and public health leaders and frontline workers to further deflection efforts in Nueces County,” said Brittney Garrett, Director of Outreach and Training at PAARI. “We share a common mission with O2SL and QRT National. Our partnership allows us to combine resources and connections to deliver consistent and quality training.”
O2SL & QRT National provides training, mentoring, technical services, and technology support in Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Alaska, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Nebraska, Minnesota, Michigan, Texas, Montana, Connecticut, Colorado, South Carolina, and Illinois. Their team of experts comprise over 20 nationally recognized public safety, public health, and community professionals who have been at the forefront of deflection, pre-arrest diversion, and other community health issues. O2SL & QRT National partner with PAARI in providing training, technical assistance, and technology support to law enforcement sites across the country.
“At O2SL and QRT National, we effectively share our years of law enforcement leadership and subject matter experience to collaborate with agencies that directly serve vulnerable populations,” said Scott Allen, Chief Operating Officer at O2SL & QRT. “We thank PAARI for partnering with us to provide this necessary training and are grateful that our combined efforts can create lasting change in Nueces County.”
Written by: Isabella Nowak
About O2SL & QRT National:
Operation 2 Save Lives & QRT National provides a one-stop solution to address substance use disorders and behavioral health issues through shared community responses. We help create collaborative partnerships that include law enforcement, fire, and EMS agencies, public health, behavioral health, recovery, and community organizations working to connect vulnerable populations, their family members, and loved ones to treatment, support services, and long-term recovery. Learn more at o2sl.com.
The Police Assisted Addiction & Recovery Initiative (PAARI) 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, PAARI has been a driving force behind this rapidly expanding community policing movement. We provide technical assistance, strategic guidance, connection to training resources, and other capacity-building resources to more than 700 police departments in 40 states.
PAARI works with more than 130 law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts alone. PAARI 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 tens of thousands of lives, changed police culture, reshaped the national conversation about the opioid epidemic, and have placed more than 30,000 people into treatment since its founding in June 2015. Learn more at paariusa.org.