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January 26, 2023

Critical Elements for Implementing Active Outreach Deflection Programs

Across the United States, first responder agencies—law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services—collaborate with behavioral health practitioners, case managers, and service providers to implement first responder deflection (FRD) programs that redirect individuals with substance use disorders (SUDs) away from the justice system and into community-based treatment and services. There are six frameworks of FRD; these frameworks are referred to as pathways because, in contrast to justice system interventions which mandate that individuals attend treatment, first responders and community response teams are able to offer access, or pathways, to community-based treatment, services, and resources to support individuals in need.

The active outreach pathway is a proactive, collaborative, and multi-disciplinary approach being used by law enforcement and other first responder agencies to connect people with SUDs or co-occurring mental health conditions, or who are unsheltered, to community-based treatment and support services. First responders or multidisciplinary co-responder teams usually seek out individuals where they live, in areas where there are high overdose rates, or in encampments of unsheltered individuals.

During this webinar, representatives from active outreach programs in Story County, Iowa, and Morris County, New Jersey, will describe their programs and discuss critical elements needed to plan, implement, and sustain active outreach programs.


Story County Alternatives Program

  • Shelby Gibson, Program Care Coordinator, Alternatives, Ames, Iowa
  • Chief Geoff Huff, Ames, Iowa, Police Department

Morris County (NJ) Hope One

  • Erica Valvano, Sheriff’s Corporal, Community Outreach and Planning Section, Morris County, New Jersey, Sheriff’s Office


  • Karen Maline, Project Manager, International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)


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