Law Enforcement and Social Services Conference

Police with students

Services working together

Law Enforcement and Social Services Conference

Oct. 17, 2019

Best Western Plus Kelly Inn

100 4th Ave. S., St. Cloud, Minnesota

The Department of Social Work in the School of Health and Human Services is excited to hold the Fourth annual Law Enforcement and Social Services Conference.  

POST credits (7) are available.

The Law Enforcement and Social Services Conference formerly known as the Police and Social Services Conference was created by Dr. Sylvestor Amara Lamin and Dr. Consoler Teboh in partnership with the Center for Continuing Studies, Department of Criminal Justice Studies, Department of Social Work, Department of Public Safety, and the School of Health and Human Services.  This conference will demonstrate the benefits of creating an opportunity for police, social services, and the community to work together.  It will also provide a better understanding of what police do and how social services can aid in times of crisis and need.

For more information, contact Dr. Sylvester Amara Lamin at or Dr. Consoler Teboh at

Who Should Attend?

  • Law enforcement of all levels, departments and agencies
  • Individuals who work for health and human service agencies
  • Students are highly encouraged to attend
  • Members of the larger community who access social service

Conference Details & Fees

Date: Oct. 17, 2019

Times:  Check-in is 7:30 a.m. Conference runs 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Continental breakfast and lunch are included.

Conference Fee: $79, rising to $99 Oct. 4, 2019. Students and seniors are $29. Registration closes Oct. 10, 2019. A $25 late registration fee will be added for registrations received/postmarked after Oct. 10, 2019.

Cancellation Policy:

  • A refund minus a $25.00 processing fee will be issued if cancellations are received in writing to by Oct. 10, 2019.
  • No refunds will be given if cancelled after Oct. 10, 2019.
  • St. Cloud State University reserves the right to cancel.

Location: Best Western Plus Kelly Inn, 100 4th Ave. S., St. Cloud, Minnesota

Special Accommodations

To ensure full participation, inform us prior to your arrival about dietary requirements or physical challenges.

Sponsorship Details

$500 Gold Level Sponsorship

Included in sponsorship

  • 7 tickets to the event
  • Vendor booth
  • Listing in Program
  • Breakfast and Luncheon

$350 Silver Level Sponsorship

Included in sponsorship

  • 4 tickets to the event
  • Vendor booth
  • Listing in Program
  • Breakfast and Luncheon

$200 Bronze Level Sponsorship

Included in sponsorship

  • 3 tickets to the event
  • Vendor booth
  • Listing in Program
  • Breakfast and Luncheon

Cancellation Policy:

  • A refund minus a $25.00 processing fee will be issued if cancellations are received in writing to by Oct. 10, 2019.
  • No refunds will be given if cancelled after Oct. 10, 2019.
  • St. Cloud State University reserves the right to cancel.


Tentative Schedule - subject to change

Conference Schedule
7-8 a.m. Registration, Breakfast, Networking
8 a.m.-5 p.m. Exhibition Hall
8-8:25 a.m. Welcome
8:30-9:20 a.m. Keynote - Paul Schnell, Commissioner of Minnesota Department of Corrections
9:30-10:45 a.m. Keynote Panel One - Collaborative Strategies by Lae Enforcement Department
11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Keynote Panel Two - Strengthening Community Trust and Collaboration with Law Enforcement
12:20-1:30 p.m. Luncheon Keynote - Katy Kirchner, Director of Coordinated Care and Correctional Care, CentraCare Health
1:25-1:30 p.m. Prizes
1:30-2:30 p.m. Breakout Session One
2:45-3:45 p.m. Breakout Session Two
4-5 p.m. General Session and Closing Remarks

Keynote Speakers

Keynote Speaker - Commissioner Paul Schnell

Paul SchnellPaul Schnell became commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) on Jan. 7, 2019. He was appointed commissioner by Governor Tim Walz.

Commissioner Schnell brings more than 30 years of public safety and corrections experience to his new position with the DOC. His wealth of knowledge in these fields is a great asset to the DOC.

While completing his Bachelor of Social Work degree at the University of St. Thomas, Schnell began an internship supervising adult male offenders in a St. Paul halfway house. This internship led to a 10-year stretch of work in a variety of community-based correctional programs in the Twin Cities. In 1993, Schnell moved from his position working with youth offenders at Carver County Court Services to deputy sheriff for the Carver County Sheriff’s Office. In 1999, Schnell joined the Saint Paul Police Department where he served in a variety of assignments, including four years as the department’s spokesman. Over the past eight years, Schnell has served as Chief of Police for the cities of Hastings and Maplewood and was the Chief of Police for the City of Inver Grove Heights at the time of his appointment to the commissioner of the DOC.

Long interested in effective intervention and prevention practices, Schnell became an adjunct faculty member at the University of Saint Thomas and Metropolitan State University, teaching courses in criminal justice diversity, criminal justice ethics, restorative justice, and victimology.

In addition to a Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of St. Thomas, Schnell holds a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership from St. Catherine University in St. Paul.

Keynote Speaker - Katy Kirchner

Katy Kirchner

Katy Kirchner works at CentraCare Health as the Director of Coordinated Care and Correctional Care.  She previously was the Director of Public Health for Morrison County and served on the executive team for the MN Local Public Health Association.  As a servant leader, Katy enjoys convening widely diverse sectors to promote strategies for improving the health of the community.  She has a Master’s Degree in Public Health with an executive healthcare emphasis as well as a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing and a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Biology and Psychology.  Katy is a part of the Population Health Leadership Team and is the lead for the Community Health Needs Assessment at CentraCare.  She is pursuing her Doctor of Public Health from the University of Illinois, Chicago School of Public Health.

Breakout Session One Descriptions

Mental Illness & Mental Health Crisis Intervention

Being arrested is the most common way people access mental health services today.  In every city that has an inpatient mental health unit, there are more mentally ill people in that city’s jail, than in the mental health unit.  This training will examine the difficulties mental illness presents to law enforcement and offer effective strategies for addressing the most common forms of mental illness officers face.  There will be a particular focus on assessment of a situation and intervention strategies.  We will also examine how addressing these situations effects officers.

Frank Weber is a forensic psychologist who has completed assessments for homicide, sexual assault, and physical assault cases. He has received the President’s award from the Minnesota Correctional Association for his forensic work. Frank has presented at state and national psychological conventions and teaches college courses in psychology and social problems. Raised in the small rural community of Pierz, Minnesota, Frank is one of ten children (yes, Catholic), named in alphabetical order. Despite the hand-me-downs, hard work, and excessive consumption of potatoes (because they were cheap), there was always music and humor. Frank has been blessed to share his life with his wife, Brenda, since they were teenagers.

A Model Training for Training for Social Services / Law Enforcement Partnerships

The increase in social service workers partnering with law enforcement officers to accomplish a myriad of goals presents opportunities to 1) improve everyone’s safety while 2) increasing effectiveness and efficiency of services and 3) decreasing costs of use of law enforcement/corrections as a mental health service. Critical to the effectiveness of these partnerships is training that enhances understanding and trust between the professions and teaches partners to work together safely, quickly and effectively.

Training these historically diverse professions, sometimes with a history of mistrust, requires identification of common goals and objectives and realistic outcomes while assuaging concerns and even fears. In-person and online training allows both professions to gain knowledge about how to work effectively together as well as experience working through actual incidents with video and in-person scenarios.

The Criminal Justice and Social Work departments at Saint Leo University in Florida have designed and taught a combined law enforcement officer and social worker training that bridges the knowledge, perception and experience gaps between the two professions. The training lets participants experience as partners how to 1) safely rely on each other’s strengths to address and even resolve mutual client issues, 2) jointly de-escalate anger and 3) secure needed services.

Dr. Jeff Golden pictureDr. Jeff Golden develops and teaches graduate and undergraduate criminal justice classes at Saint Leo University in Florida. His work focuses on anger and aggression, juvenile delinquency and law. Dr. Golden, with Dr. Lisa Rapp-McCall, a professor of social work, developed a multidisciplinary course bringing master’s degree candidates in CJ and SW together to understand how they can work smarter and more effectively together. They expanded the course into a two-day workshop for practitioners in both fields seeking to work together to enhance effectiveness and provide services and solutions quickly and more efficiently. Development of an online version is underway.

Breakout Session Two Descriptions

The Duluth Response: A Collaborative Approach Between the Duluth Police Department and St. Louis County Social Services

Since 2010, the Duluth Police Department (DPD) has evolved into what is now a Mental Health Unit (MHU) consisting of two dedicated police officers, two embedded social workers and support staff. The MHU is co-located full-time at a downtown Duluth police substation and is part of the community policing program. The MHU overarching goal is to decriminalize mental illness; outcomes include decreasing 911 calls related to mental illness and substance use, decreasing criminal charges, decreasing jail admissions, reducing emergency room admissions and assisting with stabilizing housing situations and decreasing homelessness. The MHU partners with the existing Community Intervention Group (CIG) in Duluth to accomplish these program outcomes.

Officer Angela RobertsonOfficer Angela Robertson has been with Duluth Police Department 10 Y, years and was involved early on with an award-winning innovation grant that embedded the first Social Worker in Minnesota with the Duluth Police Department. Officer Robertson will describe the evolution of the Mental Health Unit and share what the police department has learned along the way to shape their current program. She will give details on the MHU referral process, in-progress calls, and the results of a recent survey of Duluth patrol officers related to the MHU. She will also explore the most important common factor to success - "the relationship".


Officer Chad Guenther pictureOffice Chad Guenther has been with the Duluth Police Department for 8 Y, years. As a key member of the Community Intervention Group (CIG), Officer Guenther will explain the purpose of the group and law enforcement's role will this collaborative of over 20 Duluth agencies. He will share one of the fundamental aspects of the success of the group -the CIG Release of Information. Officer Guenther will describe the interagency and intra-agency communication systems that have been developed to promote the MHU's objectives. Finally, Officer Guenther will share the 2018 MHU data that reveals a 30% decrease in 911 calls-for-service for identified chronic consumers.

Patty Whelan (LICSW) is employed by St. Louis County Social Services and has been embedded with the Duluth Police Department for over two years. She will show the multiple best practices and programs In Duluth using the Sequential Intercept Model (SIM). Ms. Whelan will discuss the process the MHU uses to triage and prioritize referrals from patrol officers, administration and community members. Ms. Whelan will highlight the use of harm reduction, motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral strategies and housing first as a model of practice. Ms. Whelan will also discuss what she has learned to successfully integrate into the Duluth Police Department and build "buy-in" from patrol officers.

Sergean Kelly Greenwalt pictureSergeant Kelly Greenwalt has been a member of the Duluth Police Department for 22 years.  In January of 2018, he began supervising the Community Policing Program, which encompasses the Mental Health Unit.  He began his career as a patrol officer in the western side of our city, then citywide as a K9 officer.  After a short time in community policing he was promoted to Sergeant in 2013, supervising nightshift and K9.  Sgt. Greenwalt received a BA in Sociology from the University of MN Duluth. 



Vitals™ Aware Services

Vitals™ Aware Services is a company developing technology to serve first responders and those with disabilities, mental health challenges and other conditions that may make communication challenging. The Vitals™ App enables safer community interactions by allowing individuals with visible and invisible conditions and disabilities to voluntarily create and share a personalized digital profile with authorized first responders via a secure, mobile app – improving real-time communication, reducing the risk of misunderstandings and promoting greater independence.

In addition, Vitals™ Network allows for school personnel, health care staff and direct service persons to get real-time updates and information of the people that they serve, when they are serving them.  Vitals™ is currently in use with 70 departments and select providers in Minnesota and nine schools in North Carolina. 

Christopher Kokal pictureChristopher Kokal serves as the Vice President of Enterprise for Vitals™ Aware Services.  He is responsible for ensuring that Vitals™ technology and services meet the needs of the consumers.  Prior to joining Vitals™ Christopher worked as a therapist and executive for various disability service organizations.  Christopher lives outside of Minneapolis with his wife and two children.  

Call for Proposals

We are accepting proposal for the 4th Annual Law Enforcement and Social Services Conference.

The deadline to submit is July 31

America’s intertwined mental illness and criminal justice trajectories signal a behest of challenges that beckon for current and immediate attention. At the same time, the politicization of the issue adds another dimension to this complex terrain. The 2019 Annual Law Enforcement and Social Services Conference intends to critically examine the highly intricate and contested processes of reducing the criminalization of the mentally ill and its significance for Law Enforcement, the Social Services and our communities. Furthermore, the conference will engage with discussions on the criminal justice system that is intimately linked to the notion of the intersectionality between mental illness and the criminal justice system. Beyond the specific emphasis on mental illness and law enforcement, the overarching focus of the conference is to engage with different theoretical inflections that have emerged in the existing scholarship on imbricated characteristic practice solutions, as well as to probe into the ways in which such interventions have been challenged and reformulated within the academia as well as in various practice settings.

We invite submissions on the following sub-themes, in addition to other ideas that the participants may have:

  • The intersection of mental illness and criminal justice in the USA
  • Eliminating Barriers to the Treatment of Mental Illness
  • Building Partnerships between the Law Enforcement and Social Services
  • Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement in the 21st Century
  • How do we reduce repeat crimes by mentally ill?
  • Criminal Justice: Making Everyone in the Community Count
  • Prisons: The New Mental Health Service Providers?

Each individual proposal must include: 1) title of the work, and an abstract of 200 words 2) name of the presenter (with the surname underlined) 3) mailing address, 4) phone number 5) email 6) institutional affiliation 7) three to five keywords that best characterize the themes and topics relevant to your submission. Participants are expected to follow these guidelines.

Proposals for panels (3-5 presenters) must include: 1) title of the panel and a collective summary of 250 words on the panel’s theme, including the title of each individual work 2) a 200-word abstract for the presentation of each speaker 3) mailing address 4) phone number 5) email and 6) institutional affiliation of each presenter.

Proposals will be accepted by email: from May 1, 2019 July 31, 2019. A mandatory non-refundable registration fee of $79 for all participants and $29 for students and seniors. This conference fee includes admission to the panels, workshops, and special events, as well as CUEs, and certificate of participation. Registration also includes continental breakfast, and lunch.

If you have any questions, contact Consoler Teboh at and Conference Co-Founder Sylvester Amara Lamin at:

School of Health and Human Services
Department of Social Work, Saint Cloud State University