This white paper is based on a series of interviews, buttressed by personal observations, of key players in several jurisdictions where law enforcement officers, Veteran Justice Outreach Specialists from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and community-based agency representatives collaborate to implement approaches to de-escalate veterans in crisis in our communities. These programs are improving public safety. They are creating opportunities for veterans struggling to re-acclimate to civilian life. These traumatized men- and increasingly women- receive the help they need to address mental health issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury, related to their military service.
This is the third publication in the National Institute of Corrections justice-involved veterans compendium project. It shares the views of law enforcement programs at several locations across the country, from small towns to large cities, and highlights how each jurisdiction went about creating and implementing teams or programs to improve practices meant to serve veterans who are in crisis.
Veteran Response Teams are improving outcomes for these veterans and minimizing hostile and sometimes volatile situations for both law enforcement officers and veterans. This paper shares the views of police officers, sheriff’s deputies, corrections professionals, representatives from the VA and other community-based treatment providers, each of whom, in their own words, have stories to tell.