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Communities are facing increasing pressure to minimize unnecessary engagement of first responders in non-criminal or medical matters, and, if engaged, to improve the nature of their responses to individuals in crisis. However, there is a lack of consolidated information on the various approaches that have been implemented across the country for policymakers to use to inform their decision-making.

Join us as we present a framework for understanding the range of programs that have been implemented by first responder agencies in the U.S. to improve responses to crises related to serious mental illness, substance use disorder, and/or homelessness. In this webinar, experts in diversionary emergency responses will discuss factors that are relevant to decision-making around reimagining emergency responses at state and local levels.


  • Holly Swan, Senior Associate, Abt Global, will discuss Abt’s recent study to develop a framework for understanding and evaluating the range of crisis response programs that have been implemented by first responder agencies in the U.S. 
  • Amber Widgery, Program Principal, National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), will discuss the role of state lawmakers in supporting crisis response and provide examples of strategies different states use to support development and implementation of alternative responses.
  • Charlotte Resing, Program Manager, National Association of Counties (NACo), will discuss the county’s role in funding and supporting crisis response and recommendations on how to get buy-in from county leadership. 
  • Sue Polis, Director, National League of Cities (NLC), will discuss innovative city approaches to address mental health, substance use, and homelessness and the additional challenges and opportunities brought on by COVID-19 and calls for racial justice.


  • Catie Bialick, Criminal Justice Manager, Arnold Ventures

Click here to download the presentation.

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