BOSTON, MA October 31, 2023 – The Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI) is excited to announce the upcoming guests for the Partner Spotlight Series, a program launched at the beginning of this year, that highlights a deserving partner once per month who is running an excellent PAARI model program. The series takes place on the last Tuesday of each month.
October’s Partner Spotlight Series will feature the Madison Police Department highlighting its Pathways to Recovery project. The project implements two pathways. One is the Addiction Resource Team, one of the department’s three flagship diversion and deflection programs. This team utilizes a police officer from Madison PD and a peer specialist from Safe Communities to follow up with those who have experienced a non-fatal overdose or other precipitating event that brought them in contact with the police or fire departments. The purpose of the team is to provide harm-reduction materials and connect individuals to recovery resources.
The second pathway in the project is the Madison Area Addiction Recovery Initiative (MAARI). MAARI is a program for individuals with substance use disorders (SUD) who have committed certain non-violent offenses stemming from their SUD. The program offers 6 months of treatment and coaching and the individual must complete the program for non-prosecution of the charges they would have faced. Sgt. Meg Hamilton from Madison’s Community Outreach, Ret. Capt Joe Balles from Pathways Project and Janae Goodrich from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute will be speaking at the event.
“Our team is grateful for PAARI’s platform to showcase the impactful initiatives we have undertaken in Madison. We look forward to engaging in meaningful discussions and sharing our experiences with those who want to do similar work in their communities,” said Sgt. Meg Hamilton.
In November, PAARI’s Partner Spotlight Series will highlight the Clinician Office Remote Evaluation (CORE) program in Harris County, Texas. CORE is a program that connects law enforcement with licensed CORE clinicians from The Harris Center via a tablet that allows for video chat to complete a crisis assessment with an individual in need. The collaboration includes members of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Harris County Constables, Harris County Fire Marshals, Baytown Police, LaPorte Police, Pasadena Police, and the Houston Police Department. Sheriff Ed Gonzales, Sgt. Rico Gomez and Program Director Kisha Lorio will speak about the program.
“My colleagues and I are eager to present the work we have done with the CORE program to PAARI constituents,” said Sheriff Gonzalez. “CORE has transformed our approach to mental health crisis intervention in Harris County, fostering a proactive and compassionate response. We are immensely grateful to PAARI for providing us with this platform to share our knowledge and best practices.”
To sign up for either Partner Spotlight Series presentation, click the link HERE. The next Partner Spotlight Series will be held in January of next year.
Written by, Isabella Nowak
ABOUT PAARI: 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 650 police departments in 42 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, and reshaped the national conversation about the opioid epidemic since its founding in June 2015. Learn more at paariusa.org.
ABOUT MADISON PD DIVERSION AND DEFLECTION PROGRAMS: Madison Police Department actively seeks opportunities to divert and deflect individuals from the justice system. What’s in the name, diversion versus deflection?
Diversion occurs when police refer individuals to a program or services in lieu of an arrest. Pre-arrest or pre-charge diversion seeks to connect individuals with community based help, while avoiding a damaging arrest record.
Deflection is community based, and entails no criminal justice system involvement beyond an individual’s interaction with a police officer in the field. Police deflection programs aim to reduce crime by connecting people living with mental health struggles or substance use disorder to treatment and recovery resources.
The Madison Police Department has 3 flagship diversion programs and one dedicated deflection team. Learn more at cityofmadison.com/police/community/maari/
ABOUT CORE: The Clinician Office Remote Evaluation (CORE) is a specialized program that connects law enforcement officers with licensed Master level CORE clinicians from The Harris Center via a tablet that allows for video chat to complete a mental health crisis assessment with an individual in need. This collaboration includes members of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO), Harris County Constables, Harris County Fire Marshals, Baytown Police, LaPorte Police, Pasadena Police, and the Houston Police Department (HPD). Learn more at houstoncit.org/core/