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June 24, 2021

Engaging Your Community—First Responder Strategies

During this webinar, representatives from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) 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 provides a clinical perspective and talks about how law enforcement can become more aware of local programs for individuals suffering from substance use disorders. The training highlights 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 also addresses 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, CMPD
  • Cara Evans-Patterson, Youth Diversion Program Manager, CMPD

To view a PDF version of the slide deck that was used during this presentation, click here.

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