Friday, January 24th 2020---
It is with the greatest confidence I recommend Patricia Contente, Cheryl Delafano, Greg Johnson, Jennifer Korn and Sabrina Ozit who collectively are the heart and soul of the Community Outreach, Help and Recovery (COHR) Unit for their continued hard work under the leadership of Ms. Contente in identifying citizens in need and providing services to citizens who suffer from mental health conflict and/or drug addiction. ---Chief David Fallon.
The Community Outreach, Help and Recovery (COHR) is a program dedicated to aid and provide resources to support Somerville Residents on their recovery path from substance abuse and mental health. COHR provides free training classes to residents who wish to assist others as Recovery Coaches. With the help and sponsorship from the City of Somerville and initiatives like the Police Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative (PAARI) classes like "Pathways to Recovery" and "Mental Health First Aid" were successful this year. These courses help build an understanding of the individual, family and community impact of substance abuse, and mental health issues. Participants learn overviews of current treatments and action plans to assess these situations and implement appropriate care. Training and courses are held at the Somerville Public Safety Building located at 220 Washington Street in Somerville.
This unit is also responsible for the incredible Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training and Blue Courage training which has come to be recognized as a model for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and significant resource for the Somerville Police Department and the constituents of Somerville. The Metro Boston CIT TTAC has worked with communities gathering and actively analyzing empirical data to inform best practice. These best practice approaches have identified strategies for departments to access community supports and increase collaboration with other state funded programs. Examples include increased utilization of Emergency Service Programs, development of HUB and case conference models, identification of grants and other funding sources to support expansion of resources.The Somerville CIT program began in 2013 and since then 63 officers have been trained for the Crisis Intervention Team. In 2019 with the support of Chief Fallon and grant funding the CIT program created the role of CIT coordinators. The CIT model at SPD has increased CIT officer involvement and opportunities in training and professional development.
The work and devotion of Patricia Contente, her staff and numerous Somerville Police Officers such as Mark McLaughlin, Keith O’Donnell and Sgt. James Slattery are commendable and bring public acclaim to the Somerville Police Department. This hard work has made the Somerville Police Department a leader and a model for how policing better serves the community in the 21st century.