Collier County Sheriff’s Office Partnership Favors Treatment, Diverts From Jail

Collier County Sheriff’s Office Partnership Favors Treatment, Diverts From Jail

Collier County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) and the David Lawrence Centers have collaborated on the public safety, health and wellness of this community since the Center’s inception over 45 years ago. Under the leadership of Sheriff Kevin Rambosk, this partnership has evolved and our ability to work together to help those in need has never been stronger.

The premise behind this strengthened collaboration is a core understanding of what works and what doesn’t. We know that jails and prisons are ill equipped to meet the needs of offenders with mental illness and substance use problems and criminalizing this population does not resultin adequate care. Our initiatives prevent legal involvement where appropriate by providing access to treatment as an alternative to incarceration as well as wraparound care upon release to avoid recidivism and rearrests.

One initiative is Crisis Intervention Training which arms law enforcement officers with the skills and knowledge to handle violent and aggressive calls related to mental illness and substance use. Since 2007, DLC has provided 850 officers specialized training about signs and symptoms, the Baker Act and Marchman Act Laws and community resources.

Recently we started the Law Enforcement Assistant Diversion program which allows officers to redirect low-level drug offenders to treatment services, instead of jail and prosecution. This program was tested to the limits when CCSO announced one of the largest drug trafficking busts in local history that is “significantly impacting the flow of heroin and methamphetamine to the residents of Collier County.” Through this initiative, deputies worked with emergency medical services and David Lawrence Center to make sure those addicted to heroin who were without access to their drugs and sick from withdrawals could get the rehabilitation help they needed.

By working together, these life-saving initiatives are changing lives and reducing criminal behavior.

“Since 2007, Baker Act law enforcement referrals to the Crisis Unit have increased 157%.”


1 Comment

  • Ann Herbst said

    I think this is terrific and law enforcement is to be saluted for realizing that individuals with substance use disorder and mental illness need treatment, not jail. What a great step forward for everyone who cares about these issues in Collier County and beyond.

Nov 02, 2015 | News

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