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This article is a colloborative effort by CHJ and Karen Maline at International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), who wrote the content and led the related webinar. [Those without Adobe Connect, can view the presentation PDF.]

The article appeared in the August 2020 edition of "Catching Up With COSSAP," an online newsletter distributed by the Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program (COSSAP).  

TASC's Center for Health and Justice (CHJ) is a COSSAP training and technical assistance partner and helps grantees implement evidence-based, systemic solutions at the front end of the justice system to respond to the substance use that often contributes to contact with the justice system. 

Building an Organizational Culture That Values Law Enforcement Diversion 

Many police leaders across the country have recognized the need to connect individuals with substance use disorders (SUDs) to community-based treatment services through prearrest diversion programs. Typically, these leaders benefit from the authority to bring together a myriad of community stakeholders to build treatment and service capacities.

Often, however, a more significant challenge is building a culture within police departments that supports diversion programs. As the success of diversion initiatives depends on the willingness of frontline officers to participate in their implementation, law enforcement leaders should aim to cultivate the kind of organizational culture that embraces the mission and goals of front-end diversion.