The Portland Police Department is pleased to announce that it has recently made three new hires for the following positions: Alternative Response Liaison, Substance Use Disorder Liaison, and Media and Community Relations Liaison. The Alternative Response and Media and Community Relations liaisons are newly created positions, part of the Department’s continued commitment to progressive policing, community engagement, and transparency. The Substance Use Disorder Liaison position was filled after the first person to hold that role, Oliver Bradeen, recently left to become the new Executive Director at Milestone Recovery.
“I am ecstatic to be welcoming each of these new employees into our ranks,” said Chief Frank Clark. “In line with our mission, I look forward to seeing what each of them will bring to bear as we strive to continue to build partnerships and work collaboratively with our community to enhance trust and provide the best possible service and outcomes.”
Andrea Taatjes is joining the PD as the new Alternative Response Liaison. She will assist the Police Department in its proactive efforts to provide critical response capacity, as well as community outreach, education and case management to its citizens. This position will be integral in enhancing police response through direct contact to those in crisis. Taatjes will work collaboratively with other behavioral health professionals to connect citizens with appropriate resources, provide referrals and advocate for services. As a member of the Behavioral Health Unit, she will respond to calls for service, coordinate the management of existing services and provide resource options. Taatjes will work closely with patrol officers, co-responding or responding in lieu of a police response.
Taatjes starts Monday, February 22. She is currently a Licensed Mental Health Clinician, having most recently worked for Bay State Community Services in Braintree, MA as the Assistant Program Director for the Coastal Home Based and CSA Programs. She has 10 years of clinical experience in a variety of roles working with youth, adults, and families.
William Burns is joining the PD as the new Substance Use Disorder Liaison. The liaison runs the Department’s Law Enforcement Addiction Advocacy Program (LEAAP), which was created in 2015, and works to help address drug overdoses and deaths in the community. LEAAP utilizes three key elements of outreach: education, community awareness, and the facilitation of treatment. Burns will develop relationships in the community, act as a subject matter expert to the police department, and assist those suffering from substance use in exploring treatment options. He will also provide continued education and awareness in the Department’s efforts to have addiction viewed as a medical problem and not a criminal issue. Burns will also serve family members and friends seeking advice and assistance in obtaining help for their loved ones.
Burns starts Monday, February 22. He most recently worked in Saratoga Springs, NY for Mayor Meg Kelly as well as for Saratoga Springs’ emergency shelter system. Between 2011 and 2018, he worked for Preble Street in Portland as the Health Services Director and Coordinator of the Adult Resource Center. He has more than 35 years of non-profit and social services experience.
The Alternative Response and Substance Use Disorder Liaisons will fall within the Department’s Behavioral Health Response Program. This program has been part of the Portland PD since 2010, and it is proud to be recognized by the Council of State Governments Justice Center as one of just ten law enforcement mental health learning sites nationwide. Although temporarily suspended due to COVID, the Department has also adopted a co-responder internship program. This innovative program invites Master’s level interns from USM and UNE to work under the supervision of the Behavioral Health Coordinator, responding to calls for service and conducting follow-up in the community. The program expands the availability of co-responders while giving future providers critical crisis exposure and skills.
David Singer is joining the PD as the new Media and Community Relations Liaison. He will work in support of the Department’s mission and its goals of increasing transparency and enhancing public trust. He will develop relationships and strategies to proactively enhance effective communications, both internally and externally; and serve as a key media and communications contact and will routinely convey information to the public through social and traditional media outlets, website dashboards and other means. The liaison will also assist in managing the department’s video recording systems, to ensure compliance with policies, procedures, regulations and laws, and to appropriately respond to public records requests.
Singer starts Monday, February 22. He is an award-winning journalist, media entrepreneur, and innovative communications professional with more than 10 years in TV, radio, print, and online with a focus on community advocacy. Most recently, he worked as a reporter and anchor at WGME-TV, the local CBS/Fox affiliate.