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Engaging Your Community: First-Responder Strategies

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) leadership, in collaboration with the Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program (COSSAP) team and TASC's Center for Health and Justice, invites you to this no-cost webinar on June 24, 2021, at 2:00 p.m., ET. Please register to reserve your spot!

June 24, 2021 2:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m., ET About the Webinar During this webinar, representatives from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department will discuss how they have gone above and beyond policing and have implemented programming that educates young people on how to make better decisions and offers them life-changing experiences and positive interactions with law enforcement. These programs have resulted in lowering the rate of adolescent arrest, reducing racial and ethnic disparities, and minimizing the "school-to-prison pipeline".

Participants will learn about current programs and services (treatment alternatives), ways to engage the community and establish buy-in, successes and challenges, and ways that treatment alternatives can be identified and utilized to create safer communities.

In addition, a licensed clinical therapist specializing in narcotics addiction and with more than nine years of experience in medication assistance programs, enhanced services addressing substance use disorder, depression, and working with clients with dual diagnoses will provide a clinical perspective and talk about how law enforcement can become more aware of local programs for individuals suffering from substance use disorders. The training will highlight how law enforcement personnel can exercise substantial judgment about SUD and mental illness and continue to serve as liaisons between the criminal justice and mental health systems. The webinar will also address the stigmas of affecting law enforcement agencies in these communities and how they often create barriers between law enforcement and the communities they seek to serve.


  • Malik R. S. Ashhali, MSW, LCSW, LCAS, MAC, EAP, CSI, TFCBT, Founder/ Clinical Director/ Therapist, The Village Behavioral Healthcare Services, Inc.

  • Veronica “Vicki” Foster, Retired Assistant Chief, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD)

  • Cara Evans-Patterson, Youth Diversion Program Manager, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD)

BJA’s COSSAP is a collaborative effort that includes the training and technical assistance teams from Advocates for Human Potential, Inc.; the Altarum Institute; the Center for Health and Justice at Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities; the Institute for Intergovernmental Research; the National Criminal Justice Training Center of Fox Valley Technical College; the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Training and Technical Assistance Center; and RTI International.



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