Published in the July 7, 2015 edition

WAKEFIELD — The Wakefield Police Department is proud to announce that Jennifer Waczkowski was recognized by the Massachusetts Association of Women in Law Enforcement (MAWLE) “Spirit of MAWLE Award” for Civilian Achievement.

She was selected for this special recognition because of her outstanding contributions to the field of mental health and law enforcement. This prestigious recognition was presented at a ceremony at Hellenic College in Brookline on June 18.

Jennifer Waczkowski LMHC, a mental health clinician with Eliot Community Human Services, has been affiliated with the Wakefield Police Department since September of 2012. She began her assignment as the jail diversion coordinator for the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) under a grant funded by the Department of Mental Health. She is assigned to the Wakefield department 24 hours per week where she spends time riding with officers, initiating outreach with local providers and conducting follow-up visits with those in need.

According to a press release, “Her impact on the Wakefield Police Department and community of Wakefield has been remarkable. She has served as the link between those suffering from mental illness or emotional disturbances and the police, courts, human services and a host of other agencies that are now all working as one to best serve each and every individual.

“Ms. Waczkowski has spent countless hours learning when, why and how we handle various situations so she could provide the best tools and practices to the various situations that we may encounter. Conversely, she studied how this segment of our population reacts to police during both ordinary and extraordinary encounters so she can best interact in any given situation. She has been the leader in providing ongoing training to our CIT Officers, highlighted by several blocks of training over the past three years. Her constant pursuit of continuing education has led to courses on ‘Mental Health Well-Being Checks,’ ‘Psychological First Aid,’ ‘Dealing with Parents of a Mentally Ill Child,’ ‘Substance Abuse,’ ‘Suicide Prevention,’ ‘Veterans with PTSD’ and a host of other topics.

“Ms. Waczkowski focuses on preventive measures through immediate interaction and follow-up visits, linking various service agencies together to best address the needs of individuals.”

In 2014 the Wakefield Police Department was named a finalist for the International Chiefs of Police (IACP) “Community Service Award” for officer’s work in the area of mental health.

Police Chief Richard Smith noted, “That distinct honor would not have been possible without the efforts of Jennifer Waczkowski and her dedication to those members of our population who may need treatment, support or simply a voice on their behalf.”