Law Enforcement

Increasingly, law enforcement officers are the first, and often the only, responders to calls involving people with behavioral health needs. Our team works with communities across the country to support law enforcement leaders and officers to improve their responses to this growing population.
We want officers to have the resources they need to effectively respond to people in crisis, which is why our department has partnered with local homeless and health systems to build out community services, increasing the chances of success for the people we encounter most frequently and reducing the burden on our officers.
Gordon Ramsay
Chief, Wichita Police Department, Kansas
News & Analysis

Key Staff

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Ernest Stevens
Deputy Division Director, Behavioral Health
Ernest Stevens oversees the portfolio of work focused on improving outcomes for people experiencing behavioral health conditions and homelessness who encounter law enforcement. Ernest supports communities in adopting, implementing, and evaluating new practices. Previously, Ernest spent over 28 years in
law enforcement helping develop new programs and policies for the San Antonio Police Department. He also worked as a program manager for the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council that oversees emergency operations for 22 counties in Texas. Ernest was featured in the Emmy Award-winning documentary Ernie and Joe: Crisis Cops. Ernest also wrote Mental Health and De-Escalation: A Guide for Law Enforcement Professionals. He earned his BS in criminal justice from Wayland Baptist University. 
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Sarah Wurzburg
Deputy Division Director, Behavioral Health
Sarah Wurzburg oversees technical assistance focused on behavioral health, diversion, and reentry and serves as the lead for projects related to substance use, mental illnesses, and housing. She leads the work on the development of community responder programs, including a
toolkit that supports sites in development of non-police responses to people in crisis. Previously, Sarah was a research analyst at the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors, Inc., where she was the team lead for Youth and Women’s Services and was the primary author of research reports on youth substance use disorder treatment, driving under the influence, and Medicaid. Sarah has also worked as a juvenile court advocate and in community substance use disorder prevention. She received her BA from DePauw University in English (writing) and her MA in social services administration with a focus on policy analysis from the University of Chicago.
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    Ethan Aaronson
    Senior Policy Analyst, Behavioral Health
    Ethan Aaronson provides technical assistance to Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program grantees and Law Enforcement-Mental Health Learning Sites. Prior to joining the CSG Justice Center, Ethan worked at the Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs, where he assessed how
    well local governments met the human service needs of residents. He also was the data manager for a project that supported individuals with co-occurring diagnoses in reentry. Previously, he was a counselor in New Jersey and Oregon, helping young men prepare for their return home after completing probation or parole. Ethan earned BAs in political science and history from the University of Vermont and his MA in criminal justice from Rutgers University.
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