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  4. Spotlight on Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office Co-Responder Teams to Address Targeted Violence Threats

Spotlight: How the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office is Using Co-Responder Teams to Address Targeted Violence Threats

Release Date: April 10, 2024

As a FY21 and FY23 TVTP Grant Recipient, the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office (PBSO) is using its funding to deploy a co-responder model to address local targeted violence and terrorism (TVT) threats. This model pairs a trained officer with a clinician to mitigate TVT threats in different community areas, forming the basis of PBSO's collaborative multidisciplinary approach.

Understanding that some calls-for-service begin as mental health and evolve to TVT threats, PBSO prioritized increasing the agency’s ability to train officers and deploy co-responder teams of officers and clinicians. PBSO addressed many of the same obstacles faced by law enforcement agencies across the nation. Distrust and procedural differences between clinicians and officers can challenge the ability of the two groups to work together.

Multiple-discipline teams improved call effectiveness and reduced violent events.

In response, PBSO paired clinical staff with plainclothes detectives instead of uniformed officers. PBSO restructured its management team to foster effective collaboration between detectives and clinicians, allocating a clinical supervisor, too instead of a lone supervising law enforcement officer.

To date, PBSO has screened 257 individuals for mental health services through its Linking Individuals Needing Care (LINC) Program which aims to assist individuals with mental health issues. The program intervened with eight individuals subsequently assessed for mental health services. Four received the mental health services they required.

Assessments for substance use disorder and coinciding illnesses continue under the LINC program, along with housing services. A total of 12 participants successfully discharged from the LINC program since the beginning of PBSO's FY23 Grant.

PBSO achieved significant success with its co-responder model. The model helped improve PBSO's ability to triage, differentiate, and respond effectively to both mental health and TVT calls-for-service. Multiple-discipline teams improved call effectiveness and reduced violent events.

"We've helped two children [who were threatening to hurt themselves]," explained Captain Randy Foley, Division Commander for PBSO Behavioral Services Division during the TVTP 2024 Symposium.

The PBSO uses FY23 TVTP grant funding to prevent school and community violence in Palm Beach County by expanding the threat assessment strategy, providing targeted bystander training, fortifying referral services, and incorporating community education to enhance local capacity and prevent mass violence.

PBSO hosted its second annual Palm Beach County Threat Management Team Conference on April 8-9, 2024. It will focus on lessons learned from mass casualty events, building and sustaining threat management teams, enhancing threat assessment skills, developing partnerships, and resource building.

Last Updated: 04/26/2024
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