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Strengthening connections among criminal justice agencies, behavioral health organizations, and the community to improve wellbeing for people with mental health conditions or co-occurring substance use disorders.

Mental Health Training: Strategies for Small and Rural Law Enforcement Agencies

Small and rural jurisdictions, which make up the majority of police departments across the country, often face distinct challenges that make it difficult to implement the types of mental health training programs that larger and urban agencies can access. Given this, even when there is strong support for using best practice approaches in response, police officers in these jurisdictions often have fewer options for cross-system training and when responding to people in crisis. This brief details strategies for small and rural law enforcement agencies to develop and implement comprehensive, high-quality training that creatively addresses their unique challenges. These strategies are intended to help officers effectively respond to people who have mental health needs and connect them to necessary services. Photo credit: Photo by Kindel Media from Pexels

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Amelia Vorpahl

Former Content Development Specialist, Communications and External Affairs

Amelia Vorpahl led the writing and strategic development of an array of content that advances the CSG Justice Center’s goals, including policy reports, fact sheets, interactive tools, and web content. Before joining the CSG Justice Center, Amelia worked on the policy and communications teams of several major advocacy organizations. In her previous role as senior communications manager at Oceana, Amelia led media outreach, content creation, and messaging strategy for various regional and federal campaigns. Amelia holds a BA in journalism from the University of Wisconsin and an MPA from the University of Texas at Austin.

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Julia Kessler

Former Project Manager, Behavioral Health

As project manager, Julia Kessler worked with state and local law enforcement agencies to enhance collaboration between law enforcement, other criminal justice agencies, and behavioral health agencies. Before joining the CSG Justice Center, Julia was a senior program associate with the National Police Foundation (NPF) where she worked with law enforcement and communities around the U.S. to advance evidence-based policing practices to promote more inclusive and safe communities. Before joining NPF, Julia served with the United States Agency for International Development. Julia received her BA from Kenyon College and her MS in criminology from the University of Pennsylvania.

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