What is your role with COAST?
My role as a primary COAST member includes working alongside medical/mental health professionals, in an effort to provide proactive intervention and support to individuals in the community who are experiencing crisis related to mental health, addictions and homelessness.
Tell us about your career.
I have served as a Police Constable for the past 17 years with the LPS. While the majority of my career thus far has encompassed working as a single-officer mobile patrol unit, I also thrive in and encourage team operations.
As a certified Crisis Negotiator and Diversity Ambassador, I have had the privilege of fostering a continued sense of optimism, empathy and impartiality toward all members of society, which I believe to be key components when interacting with individuals experiencing trauma or acute crisis.
What interested you about working on the COAST team?
When I first started policing it was all about statistics and numbers such as time spent on calls. I knew then that there had to be a better way to serve vulnerable persons in crisis. I found that taking the extra 10-20 minutes on a service call with an individual in crisis could mean the difference between actually making a difference and returning to the same address only hours later. Still, I was ahead of my time in that regard and it wouldn’t be until several years later that time spent on calls would no longer be paramount. With that, I began to show interest in becoming a Crisis Negotiator. The one-on-one rapport building was becoming essential and I wanted to be a strong and contributing part of that.
I am so proud of the advancements that the London Police Service has achieved over the years and am confident that the implementation of the COAST model, with the unique pairing of our clinical partners, will inevitably be a success and will continue to expand. The citizens of London deserve that!
What benefits do you hope this program will provide to the community and to vulnerable populations?
For me, the number one benefit will be to relieve the stigma surrounding mental health in the community. COAST members will be wearing casual and approachable uniforms, which include a blue golf shirt, beige cargo pants and the operation of an unmarked mini-van. I trust this will afford individuals experiencing trauma, addiction, crisis or chronic mental illness, a safe place to interact and share on a one-on-one basis with limited time restraints and free from judgement.
What do you do to support your own mental health and wellness?
It is important to have outlets to relieve stress, anxieties and feelings that may have developed from interactions with individuals experiencing trauma or crisis. To prevent compassion fatigue, I rely on self-care for personal well-being.
I am the dog mom to a very loving and energetic 13-year old Shih Tzu/Pappilon mix named, Chance. He is without a doubt my best therapy and my biggest fan (just ask him, he’ll tell you). When not spending time with Chance, which is rare, you can find me surrounded by family, friends and other strong supports. Boating and being on the water is my happy place and I make it a point to make time for both.
Traveling is also a very important aspect of my life, however COVID-19 has put a bit of a damper on that. Lastly, a major part of my healthy lifestyle includes working out and exercising on a regular basis.