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Building an Organizational Culture That Values First Responder Diversion

The number of law enforcement and first responder-led diversion programs is rapidly increasing across the country, linking individuals with substance use and mental health disorders to community-based treatment and support services. The success of these programs relies on the willingness of frontline officers, firefighters, and emergency medical service (EMS) technicians to participate in their implementation. Concurrently, communities are looking to police to collaborate and work with community-based partners such as behavioral health practitioners, social service providers, and homeless advocates.

This webinar addresses how law enforcement leaders can successfully advance change within their agencies. Whether introducing new policies, procedures, or programs, it is important to build an organizational culture where change is readily accepted. The presenters discuss how challenges driven by organizational culture were overcome when the new Pre-Arrest Deflection Program was introduced at the Tucson, Arizona, Police Department (TPD) and will provide steps for working within agency cultures to build support for front-end diversion.

Upon completion of the webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the steps that the TPD took to develop its Pre-Arrest Deflection Program, including understanding the internal culture of the police department and officers’ tolerance for change.
  • Identify strategies for securing buy-in from police officers and other program partners, including behavioral health, treatment, and service providers, as well as various sectors of the community.
  • Explain the importance of data collection and evaluation in both reporting program results back to stakeholders and frontline responders, as well as monitoring for racial and ethnic disparities.


  • Kevin Hall, Assistant Chief, Tucson, Arizona, Police Department
  • Karen Maline, Project Manager, International Association of Chiefs of Police

To view a PDF version of the slide deck that was used during this presentation, click here.

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