BOSTON, MA December 5th, 2023 – The Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI) successfully held its National Law Enforcement Summit at Boston University from December 4th – 5th, 2023. The event welcomed over 300 registrants from 35 states nationwide for the organization’s 5th event of its kind.
The summit kicked off with a networking mixer on Sunday, December 3rd, which gathered several individuals before the first day of the event. On Monday, December 4th, the summit began promptly at 9:00 a.m. with a welcome and initial remarks from Sandro Galea, Dean of Boston University’s School of Public Health.
Following Dean Galea’s remarks, the summit continued with its first plenary session titled “Leadership in Deflection.” This panel featured Chief Ed Conley of Gloucester, MA, Chief Booker T. Hodges of Bloomington, MN, Colonel Stephen Lynch of Burrillville, RI, and Chief Amy Prock of Myrtle Beach, SC. This panel is a favorite of attendees as it highlights the importance of deflection programs and allows guests to hear from multiple perspectives in implementing deflection programs and possible obstacles these chiefs have faced and overcome.
Directly following the chiefs’ panel, Francesca Keogh-Clark, Research Assistant at PAARI, presented on the Hub Model. This short presentation was then followed by a few Hub professionals offering their expertise in a breakout room completely dedicated to Hub technical assistance throughout the first day of the event.
The first day of PAARI’s National Law Enforcement Summit featured 3 plenary sessions and 10 breakout sessions ranging in topics from lived experience, effects of trauma, diversion programs, data collection, and community responder models. The day closed with remarks from John Rosenthal, PAARI Co-Founder and Board Chair, and was followed by a reception at Fenway Park.
“A key takeaway from our National Law Enforcement Summit should be to continue to influence institutions’ perspectives on individuals facing substance use disorder,” said Rosenthal. “Through the convergence of law enforcement professionals, health experts, and individuals in recovery, the aim is to support non-arrest pathways into treatment and recovery, catalyze shifts in public policy and ultimately foster positive public outcomes.”
On Tuesday, December 5th, the second day of the summit began with a welcome from David Rosenbloom, PAARI Board Member and Professor at BU’s School of Public Health. His remarks were followed by 8 breakout sessions focusing on topics such as pathways to treatment, community partnerships, recovery capital, the emerging threat of xylazine, embedded social workers, drug policy, cannabis use disorder, and engaging the African-American community in addiction treatment.
The last event of the summit was the final plenary session titled, “The Mindshift of Traditional Policing to Creating Pathways to Treatment and Recovery.” This session, moderated by Brittney Garrett, Senior Director of Public Safety Engagement and Strategy at PAARI, highlighted the perspectives of three different professionals who work in the deflection space. The panel featured Judge Abby Abinanti of Yurok Tribe, CA, Sgt. Michael Hotz of Metro Nashville, TN, and James Small, Rural EMS Outreach Program Manager at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine and Public Health.
The event came to a close to with final remarks from Zoe Grover-Scicchitano, PAARI Executive Director.
“Our summit stands as a source of immense pride for our team and is eagerly anticipated by our law enforcement partners throughout the year,” said Grover-Scicchitano. “It’s a privilege for us to offer a platform where both public safety and public health professionals can exchange insights on the latest advancements in the field of deflection. We hope that attendees will take away knowledge gained over the past two days to drive further change within their work and communities.”
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 700 police departments in 44 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.