For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Jail Diversion Program (JDP) Clinician, we'd like to introduce Sonja Wagner. She’s been a team member for just over a year and she has quickly become an invaluable asset to us and the entire Natick Community. She works for Advocates, Inc. but is embedded full-time with us at the Natick PD.
Advocates launched the first Pre-Arrest Co-Responder Jail Diversion Program (JDP) in Massachusetts in 2003 at the Framingham Police Department. Since then, Advocates has replicated the co-response model in fifteen cities/towns throughout the Commonwealth. The JDP provides an extensive collaboration between master's level clinicians and the patrol division which affords police officers the opportunity to deliver rapid mental health services to those they encounter. By providing treatment-based alternatives, clinicians can facilitate arrest diversions on the scene and in the moment. On average, 75% of individuals presenting with criminal behavior are diverted from arrest and into appropriate treatment (Abbott, 2020).
The JDP Clinician rides alongside our patrol officers responding to calls for citizens in crisis. She often has the ability to deescalate stressful situations while recommending an array of short term and long term services. She very quickly became a member of the Natick Police Department family and we often wonder what we ever did without her. Several officers have reported that Sonja's work has helped them to become more compassionate and understand that there are alternative solutions.