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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services
Throughout the country, agencies are working through a pandemic and are being asked to implement new and innovative public safety approaches in response to concerns of social injustice. In the face of these obstacles, the COPS Office remains confident in the field’s capacity to continue its honorable work and lead change.
This month’s Dispatch highlights a technical assistance program offered by the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), information about establishing crisis intervention team programs, and the perspectives of two law enforcement executives who are leading their agencies through the pandemic. Taken together, these articles are examples of the breadth of issues law enforcement has been called upon to shoulder.
The goal of OVC’s Law Enforcement Victim–Based (LEV) Services and Technical Assistance Program is to increase the number of victim services programs in state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies. Since 2018, when the program began, LEV funds have been used to establish 31 new programs, enhance 20 existing programs, and provide technical assistance to 188 program sites.
Crisis intervention teams engage departments with behavioral health service providers and other local resource providers to create a comprehensive approach for responding to individuals experiencing mental health crises. Best Practices for Addressing Mental Health Crises in the Community highlights strategies for ensuring that individuals receive adequate care and reducing the likelihood of future police encounters with individuals in crisis.
This month’s Dispatch also features interviews with Sheriff Peter Koutoujian of the Middlesex County (Massachusetts) Sheriff’s Office, who serves as the President of Major County Sheriffs of America, and Deputy Chief Fausto Pichardo of the New York City Police Department. Both discussed their experiences serving their communities during the height of the pandemic in their respective jurisdictions.
On behalf of the COPS Office, I encourage all of the men and women of law enforcement and their community partners to remain safe and resilient.
– Director Keith
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