May 25 Webinar: Improving Relationships between Police and the Mental Health Community

Improving Relationships Between Police and the Mental Health Community

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 from 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM (EDT)

The National Empowerment Center’s Technical Assistance Center presents a webinar that includes best practices from both the police and mental health peer perspective. Research, collaboration models, and approaches to building better relationships, as well as tools and strategies for safely collaborating with police, will be offered with the ultimate goal of improving the relationship between mental health peers and police and reducing negative outcomes.


The purpose of the Improving Relationships Between Police and Mental Health Community webinar is to provide both peers and police officers with new perspectives and tools to promote successful collaborative efforts, improve relationships, and reduce harm.

Learning Objectives

Webinar participants will be able to:

  • Understand the importance of improving relationships between peers and police officers
  • Learn from case examples about how peers and police can successfully work together
  • Identify effective approaches to initiating collaboration
  • Learn about at least two trainings that can help police improve their effectiveness when they encounter people in severe emotional crisis.

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Rebecca Cokley

Rebecca Cokley, White House Disability Liaison


Rebecca Cokley is the Executive Director of the National Council on Disability (NCD).

Cokley comes to NCD after serving 4 years in the Obama Administration. Most recently, she was the Special Assistant to the Principal Deputy at the Administration for Community Living (ACL) at the US Department of Health and Human Services. Before serving at ACL, Cokley was the Director of Priority Placement for Public Engagement in the Presidential Personnel Office at the White House where she was responsible for outreach to diversity and minority organizations to recruit qualified individuals for roles in the Obama Administration.

Alan Green

Alan Green, MPA

Alan Green, MPA , is the Executive Director of the Mental Health Association of Nebraska, Nebraska’s first and only peer-run mental health service provider. Programming includes the HOPE Program (EBP supported employment), the Keya House (peer respite), Honu Home (peer respite specifically for those transitioning from the state correction system), and statewide wellness/recovery education and advocacy. Mr. Green and MHA – Nebraska have developed a positive relationship with the local police department, and Mr. Green will be presenting with one of the police officers he works with.

Dwayne Mayes

Currently the Coordinator of the Recovery Network of MHA-Westchester, Dwayne has worked in the Mental Health Peer industry since 1998. Formerly the Director of Howie the Harp Advocacy Center, Dwayne Mayes has climbed from "the bottom of the totem pole" to achieve tremendous success both personally and professionally and is absolute proof that recovery is real.

Brenda Vezina

A licensed social worker with 25 plus years in the field and a trauma survivor, Brenda Vezina is Executive Producer of the “Voice Award” honorable mention documentary “What Happened to You?" which speaks to the causes and effects of childhood trauma and their relationship to public health issues. Under her leadership, the Central Mass Recovery Learning Community offers a variety of professional trainings that are well respected and sought after in Central MA and beyond, including Trauma Informed Services, Health and Social Equity, and Professionalism in the Peer Workforce.

Sergeant John Walsh

John received a BA from the University of Kansas in 1992, and a police officer since 1995, serving three years with the Kansas City, KS PD, and the last 15 at the Lincoln Police Department. In 2005, John was promoted to the rank of Sergeant, and currently serves as the Southeast Team Detective. John also serves as the liaison between the Lincoln Police and the mental health providers and consumers.


Oryx Cohen

Oryx is a leader in the international consumer/survivor/ex-patient movement. Currently he is the National Empowerment Center's Technical Assistance Center Director. Oryx is featured in Agnes’s Jacket, a book by Gail Hornstein, where Oryx and fellow Freedom Center co-founder Will Hall are compared to the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. Oryx is also a board member of the Hearing Voices Network USA and an Emotional CPR trainer. Oryx co-produced and stars in a film called HEALING VOICES, an award-winning film that will be released on and around April 29th, 2016.