HAMPTON, VA and BOSTON — The leadership teams of the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI) and Operation 2 Save Lives (O2SL) & QRT National are pleased to announce a new partnership between the organizations.
PAARI and O2SL & QRT National share a common mission to address the opioid crisis, substance use disorders and other community and behavioral health issues through shared, community responses that bring police agencies, sheriffs’ departments and criminal justice agencies together with public health agencies and communities to impact change.
Both organizations are centered on the idea that police departments can no longer arrest their way out of these crises. PAARI and O2SL & QRT National advocate for “policing with a public health approach,” which includes the practice of Pre-Arrest Diversion and Deflection.
PAARI helps law enforcement agencies nationwide create non-arrest pathways to treatment and recovery. Founded alongside the groundbreaking Gloucester, Massachusetts Police Department Angel Initiative in June 2015, PAARI has been a driving force behind this rapidly expanding community policing movement.
O2SL & QRT National shares years of law enforcement leadership and subject matter experience through executive briefings, mentorship to help community leaders gain an understanding of Pre-Arrest Diversion, Deflection and community collaborations that address social health issues specific to their needs.
Moving forward through the partnership, PAARI and O2SL & QRT National will work together to provide expertise and resources to agencies interested in implementing this type of programming within their communities. PAARI provides technical assistance, coaching, grants and other capacity-building resources, and as PAARI partners with new agencies, they will refer agencies to O2SL & QRT National’s team of instructors for training opportunities in Pre-Arrest Diversion, Deflection and Situation Tables.
PAARI currently has over 700 police department partners across the country that also have consistent training needs and regularly make requests through PAARI. Collectively, PAARI and O2SL & QRT National will work together to support those requests.
“PAARI has had an incredible and far-reaching impact on the way communities respond to the overdose crisis and to substance use disorders in general, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work together to broaden the reach of these approaches by providing public safety, public health and community trainings,” said O2SL & QRT National Chief Operating Officer Scott Allen.”Our goal is to enhance those departments already engaged in shared community responses, while also introducing the foundational principles for those agencies seeking to build a new initiative.”
“We are excited to partner with O2SL & QRT National to provide the best training possible for our partners,” said Zoe Grover, PAARI Interim Executive Director. “O2SL & QRT National have been at the forefront of this National police deflection movement. They have successfully taken the bold ideas of PAARI founding partners and formalized the processes in order for them to be replicated by public safety entities across the country. We know this partnership will serve our partners and will help us continue our work to create public safety and public health partnerships.”
The partnership between the teams has been long in the making with Allen, former Chief of the East Bridgewater, Massachusetts Police Department, connecting with PAARI after learning of its work with the Gloucester and Arlington, Massachusetts police departments. Their initial discussions regarding East Bridgewater’s local coalition, EB Hope, led to the creation of the EB Hope Drop-In Center in 2015, for which PAARI provided start-up grant funding. The Drop-In Center evolved, eventually leading to the creation of Plymouth County Outreach (PCO) by Allen, and O2SL & QRT National Vice President of Business Development Michael Botieri who was Chief of the Plymouth, Massachusetts Police Department at the time.
As PCO evolved, Allen represented PAARI in speaking roles at multiple national events including the US-Canadian Opioid Summit, NYPD Opioid Summit and AmeriCorps conference, and spoke on PAARI police-led initiatives for U.S. senators. Allen and Botieri have also presented at PAARI Summits at the Boston University School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School and in Washington, D.C. Both have been highly involved in PAARI initiatives in the years since, participating in surveys, research projects and advocating for police departments in Massachusetts and beyond to partner with PAARI. Both also served on PAARI’s National Law Enforcement Council alongside current PAARI Director of Public Safety Training & Outreach Brittney Garrett.
Upon their retirements as chiefs – Allen in March 2020 and Botieri in June 2021 – they began working with current Director of Operations Daniel Meloy, a retired Ohio public safety and local government leader, continuing to promote the organizations’ shared vision of supporting front line responders with tools and resources that will save lives, grow the field, and redefine the stigma and language around substance use disorders and behavioral health problems.
Recently, the teams collaborated to provide Situation Table training to Braintree/Quincy, Massachusetts Hubs and in Louisville, Kentucky. They also partnered on a presentation in Ulster County, New York supporting efforts to engage law enforcement in conversations on deflection and diversion for their communities. A similar presentation is upcoming in Dayton, Ohio.