Alternatives to Police II – July 6 & 7, 2023

The Alternative Mobile Services Association’s July 2023 conference – Alternatives to Police II – was presented in partnership with the Mental Health Association of Portland. The two-day interactive virtual conference was attended by about 1100 persons from all over the country. Day One focused on policy, data, and research, and Day Two had reports from city-based teams around the country.

Members of the Alternative Mobile Services Association attended the conference free of charge. Generous sponsors to the conference allowed for full time students, public defenders, and people with lived experience of mental illness.


Keynote Talk: Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) on Mobile Crisis

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway on Mobile Crisis Teams

Session Speakers

Understanding the Criminalization of Psychiatric Disabilities Through the Lens of Critical Disability Theory 

Professor Jamelia Morgan is the founding Faculty Director of the Center for Racial and Disability Justice at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.

Professor Morgan is an award-winning and acclaimed scholar and teacher focusing on issues at the intersection of race, gender, disability, and criminal law and punishment. Her scholarship and teaching examine the development of disability as a legal category in American law, disability and policing, over-criminalization and the regulation of physical and social disorder, and the constitutional dimensions of the criminalization of status.

Jordyn Jensen, M.Ed. is the Executive Director of the Center for Racial and Disability Justice at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.

Jordyn is someone with multiple disabilities, chronic illnesses, and psychiatric disability diagnoses. Her personal experience with disability contributes greatly to her interest, leadership, and service in this area. Jordyn’s interdisciplinary research and teaching involves critical disability studies, disability policy, the history of urbanization for people with disabilities in the U.S., and the criminalization of disability.

You Can’t Pour From An Empty Cup – The Effects of Vicarious Trauma

Courtney Tassin LPC is the Crisis Intervention Program Manager for the City of Aurora, Colorado where she oversees four mental health / emergency services collaboration programs to include an alternative response, law enforcement co-response, targeted violence prevention program, and a cold weather emergency activation team. Prior to this role she served three years on the Aurora Police Department’s co-responder model, the Crisis Response Team, and was then chosen to build the City’s first alternative response model, the Aurora Mobile Response Team.

Civilian Crisis Response: Strategies and Success Stories in Equitable Program Development

Jackson Beck is a senior program associate with the Vera Institute of Justice’s Redefining Public Safety initiative. His projects focus on improving emergency responses and promoting community-based care for people with unmet mental health and substance use needs. This work includes researching programs that dispatch civilian crisis responders instead of police and partnering with local practitioners and advocates to drive change in their own public safety ecosystems.

Jason Tan de Bibiana is a senior research associate with the Vera Institute of Justice’s Redefining Public Safety initiative. His work focuses on the intersections of public health issues and criminal legal system responses, including improving access to community-based care for substance use and mental health issues and advancing alternatives to arrest and incarceration. This has included research on civilian crisis response programs, offices of violence prevention and neighborhood safety, and suicide prevention and harm reduction strategies.

Mobile Response Teams in Baltimore: A crisis center’s experience

Quinita Garrett LCPC, NCC is the Director of Call Center, Mobile Crisis and System Coordination at Baltimore Crisis Response, Inc (BCRI). Quinita has worked for BCRI over nine years in various roles; including as a mental health clinician on their Mobile Response Team.

Quinita also works part time providing individual, family, and group therapy as a licensed clinical professional counselor.

The City of Madison’s Community Alternative Emergency Services (CARES) Team

Assistant Chief Ché Stedman has been a member of the Madison Fire Department since 1996. He has served as a firefighter, paramedic, lieutenant, training captain, and division chief. He is currently the Assistant Chief of Medical Affairs for the Department.

Ché holds a master’s degree in Rehabilitation Psychology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and has worked as a part-time vocational rehabilitation counselor at the Madison Veterans Administration Hospital. Ché oversees the Madison Community Alternative Response Emergency Services (CARES) as the program coordinator.

CARE Chicago

Tiffany Patton-Burnside, LCSW is Senior Director of Crisis Services for the Chicago Public Health Department and has worked in the field for over 20 years, providing services and attending to those with social/emotional needs. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from UIC, a Master’s degree in Social Work from Dominican University, and in 2009 became an LCSW. She has been in leadership for the last half of her career. Her ultimate goal is and has always been to be a change agent for those who live with social and emotional challenges.

Mobile crisis services and neurodivergence: What you need to know to recognize and support autistic and other neurodivergent persons

Mitzi Waltz, PhDAthena Institute of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam teaches and conducts research in partnership with disabled people, with a focus on developing inclusive education, social care, healthcare, housing and employment through training, program and systems change, and policy development.

She has previously led the Autism Studies programs at the University of Birmingham and Sheffield Hallam University in the UK, and currently works with the Athena Institute of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and with Disability Studies in Nederland.

Expanding First Response: Tools for building, strengthening and moving community response work forward

Melissa McKee – policy analyst, and Shontelle Ramsay – policy analyst, work for the CSG – Justice Center, Community Responder Team. With a background in direct service and non-profit leadership rooted in personal lived experience, they bring a wealth of information for policy development, education, and technical assistance.

Session Pre-Read – A Toolkit for Community Responder Programs

Mobile Crisis in Portland, Oregon

Jackie Thomson MSW works for Cascadia Health as their Senior Director of Crisis Services where she oversees Project Respond, mobile crisis team, and their Urgent Walk-in Clinic. After earning her Master of Social Work degree in 2013, Jackie working in homeless services in Spokane, then made the decision to move to Portland, where she got the opportunity to join Cascadia Behavioral Health and help develop the Shelter Behavioral Health Team.

Once that program was up and running, Jackie became a co-manager of Cascadia’s Project Respond, overseeing all programs under that branch. Jackie became Senior Director of Crisis Services in 2021 and now oversees all of the crisis response systems within Cascadia.

Implementing 988; Philadelphia’s Adult Crisis System Transformation

Dr. Sosunmolu Shoyinka is the Chief Medical Officer for the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services. In this role, Dr Shoyinka leverages health system policy and process improvement strategies to assure optimal population health for approximately 1.6 million Philadelphians. As Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Shoyinka led the redesign of Philadelphia’s crisis system, in preparation for the implementation of 988. In July 2022, Philadelphia was recognized as a model City for 988 implementation by the Biden Administration.

Dr. Shoyinka served as Medical Director for Sunflower and Home State Health Plans and was director for the Missouri Behavioral Pharmacy Management program. The latter program resulted in cost savings of over $10 million over a decade. While at Centene, Dr Shoyinka co-led the design of analytic software that facilitates population health management for individuals with substance use conditions. He is also a co-developer of the SMART Tool, which facilitates self-directed anti-racism work within organizations.

Dr. Shoyinka trained at Yale, Columbia, and New York University. He is Triple Board certified and holds an MBA from the Kelley School of Business. Dr. Shoyinka is a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania and a Fellow of the Philadelphia College of Physicians. He also serves on the Board of the American Association for Community Psychiatry, the Medical Director Institute of the National Council, and the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry.

Dayton Mediation Response Unit: Conflict to Conversation in the Community

Raven Cruz Loaiza joined the Dayton Mediation Response Unit as the Coordinator of the new Mediation Response Unit Team after more than two decades of experience in senior management, community development, project management in the fields of law enforcement, children services, juvenile probation and victim services.

Raven was the director of a rape crisis and anti-human trafficking department in the non-profit sector of victim services. Raven’s knowledge of relationship building, community development and program development paved the way to develop multiple rape crisis centers throughout Ohio. Raven also developed and managed several anti-human trafficking coalition chapters that trained hundreds of people on how to identify and report potential human trafficking situations and developed countywide protocols for response to human trafficking.

Raven is a Licensed Social Worker who holds a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Louisville as well as a Bachelor Degrees in Social Work and Criminal Justice from Wright State University. 

Responding to Crises on Campus: Past, Present, and a Vision for the Future

Dr. Isabelle Lanser received her PhD from the clinical psychology doctoral program at the University of California, Los Angeles. Throughout graduate school, Dr. Lanser’s research focused on loneliness in young adults, seeking to understand how serious mental illnesses can disrupt relationships by taking young people out of their social worlds and making it difficult for them to maintain or re-establish interpersonal connections. Dr. Lanser is passionate about improving the scalability, accessibility, and engagement in mental health services. Her work focuses on educating clinicians about systemic biases in healthcare and shaping policies that increase the safety of seeking emergency mental health services. She currently works as a postdoctoral research fellow at UCLA.

Organizing for Community Safety – in Columbus Ohio

Stephen David MSW is a community organizer with the Columbus Safety Collective, a community coalition dedicated to establishing non-police emergency response for the city of Columbus. He is a licensed social worker specializing in social work education, political engagement and social policy. He lives in south Columbus with his wife and two children.

Community Crisis Response Partnerships

Steve Miccio is Chief Executive Officer of People USA. Inspired and driven by his personal lived experience, Steve has spent over two decades creating, providing, and promoting innovative crisis response services and systems-level improvements – across the United States and internationally – that raise the bar on customer service, person-centered communication, trauma-informed care, empathy, and positive expectations for people’s recovery & wellness outcomes. Steve’s unique models and approaches significantly reduce hospital utilization, incarceration rates, and overall healthcare spending.

Utilizing Community Paramedics in an Interagency Response to Street Conditions

April Sloan is Operations Section Chief in the Community Paramedic Division at the San Francisco Fire Department. Chief Sloan is an experienced EMS professional with 25 years of experience. She started her career in 1997 and obtained an AS in Emergency Medical Services in 2000. Her experience includes transport medic, Tactical Emergency Medicine and Community Paramedic Captain. She was the senior captain tasked with implementing the Street Crisis Response Team in 2020. Being of service to others is core belief of hers. Previous speaking engagements include the National Sobering Conference, Healthcare for the Homeless, IACP Justice Center and EMS World.