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August 26, 2021

Tribal Law Enforcement, Youth Engagement, and Deflection—Strategies for Building Positive Relationships

This webinar and newsletter will focus on the opportunities for law enforcement to respond to drug-endangered children in tribal communities through youth engagement.

Substance use is not just about an individual, but also children, families, and the community. About nine million children grow up exposed to a parent/caregiver (or household member) with a substance use disorder (SUD). These children are more likely to experience abuse and/or neglect, develop a SUD, and become involved in the justice system. Early identification and intervention are essential before a crisis situation has developed, to reduce children’s exposure to continued substance use and other trauma and its impact on their lives, including the potential for future drug use.

In addition to youth engagement programs, many law enforcement organizations have developed programs referred to as deflection or first responder diversion. These programs deflect people towards community-based treatment and services and away from potential involvement with the justice system. Deflection also offers an opportunity to build positive relationships with community members and break down stigmas surrounding law enforcement, substance use, and mental health.

Working with Fox Valley’s National Criminal Justice Training Center, we will explore the Camp Triumph and Tribal Youth Police Academy programs and the opportunity these two programs provide to develop positive relationships with youth and prevent future drug use. We will also discuss how these programs relate to the philosophy of deflection.


  • Hope Fiori, COSSAP Project Specialist, Center for Health and Justice at TASC
  • Julian Garcia, Gang Unit Detective, Tohono O’odham Nation
  • Kevin Mariano, Project Coordinator, Fox Valley Technical College

A copy of the presentation slides are available by clicking here.

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