TPC Partners with Providence Police on U.S. DOJ’s “Smart Policing” Grant

Posted: Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Police_ClinYesterday, the Providence Police Department announced a partnership with The Providence Center (TPC) and Roger Williams University (RWU) for the Smart Policing Innovation Grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice. This three-year, $700,000 grant will fund efforts by to formulate a Behavioral Health Response Team (BHRT) that will work to develop a comprehensive strategy to reduce recidivism in the use of emergency services by those suffering from alcohol or drug addiction and mental health issues.

The goal of the program is to create methods to divert people with habitual drug, alcohol or mental health issues away from the criminal justice system whenever possible in order to more effectively stem habitual use of all types of emergency services. TPC’s Jessica Zira, MA, QMHP, the program’s lead clinical therapist, will serve as Project Coordinator. Currently,
 TPC’s Community Diversion program consists of partnerships with the Providence, Warwick, and West Warwick police departments, in which TPC clinicians perform diversion and outreach work surrounding mental health and addiction.

“Police departments and other first responders spend an inordinate amount of time working with individuals who have behavioral health issues,” said TPC President Deb O’Brien. “If we can provide these same individuals with timely treatment and supports, we can improve health outcomes for them and allow police to focus on issues that impact more directly on public safety.”

“The partnership between the Providence Police Department and The Providence Center has proven to be invaluable by providing treatment options for individuals who are suffering from drug and alcohol addiction or a mental health crisis and helping them to avoid incarceration,” said Commissioner of Public Safety Steven Paré.

Additionally, Doctors Sean Varano and Stephanie Manzi from Roger Williams University will also partner with the PPD, conducting research and analysis of this three-year project.

Pictured (l-r): TPC police clinicians Maureen Gouveia and Jessica Zira