The gulf often separating police on patrol from the general public they’re trying to protect can often be bridged with the simple act of extending a hand and presenting a business card.

Welcome to the Police Assisted Referral (PAR) prograPolice-Assistance-Referral-Card-1m, a collaboration among the Begun Center for Violence Prevention and the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA), FrontLine, and the Partnership for a Safer Cleveland.

“Look at a police officer’s duty belt,” says Mark Singer, Ph.D., Deputy-Director of the Begun Center and PAR program principle investigator. “We give police officers a gun. Ammunition. A Taser An asp. Handcuffs. Gloves to pat people down. Everything on the duty belt is for arrests or deterrence. “But there hasn’t traditionally been one thing on that belt for what police are doing 80-90% of their time. And that’s assisting and helping people, if only pointing them in the right direction for services.”

A recent article — co-authored by, among others, Dr. Singer and Begun Center Research Assistant and doctoral candidate Jenni Bartholomew, appearing in the December issue of the Law Enforcement Executive Forum — highlights the PAR program’s success in “training law enforcement to be first social responders”.

 

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