The Work of Multidisciplinary Teams
Modern law enforcement operates very differently from years past. Multidisciplinary teams operate with the presumption that no one entity or person will possess the technical skills or qualifications for every situation. Law enforcement is no exception, so we participate and engage in a variety of multidisciplinary teams to achieve the highest level of service for crime victims and the public we serve.
For instance, the police department participates on a child abuse specific team which meets monthly and reviews current investigations. The team consists of a variety of community partners which include: doctors, nurses, counselors, therapists, juvenile officers and prosecutors. These professionals leverage their technical expertise to change policy and direct a coordinated response to child abuse within our region.
The Sexual Assault Response Team, also known as SART, is another example of an effective multidisciplinary team. Members from the YWCA, Missouri Western State University, St. Joseph Police Department, Buchanan County Sheriff's Office and Mosaic Life Care represent the team. As of recently, the team enacted a county-wide protocol which facilitates a coordinated response, standardizes the quality of care a victim receives and addresses the needs of the victim while promoting the criminal justice system response.
The Child Abduction Recovery Team (CART) is a team of individuals from various agencies, jurisdictions and disciplines who are trained and prepared to rapidly respond to a missing, endangered or abducted child. CART leverages inter-agency resources to aid in the search and rescue efforts and members are ready to activate at any given time. CART also seeks out community stakeholders who have valuable resources that could aid in a missing child incident. This could be anything from lighting equipment, billboard signage, horses, heavy-duty equipment, ATV’s or airplanes. CART acknowledges there are community members wanting to assist in the search and recovery efforts and offers the opportunity to be pre-vetted and trained prior to a missing child incident.
When it comes to criminal investigations, members participate in multi-jurisdictional task forces and partnerships with other local, state and federal agencies along with private industries. These collaborative efforts increase efficiency and work toward the goals of providing a safe community for our residents and visitors. So, if you’re thinking of tackling a complex problem like sexual assault, child abuse, a neighborhood issue or a community problem maybe it’s time to establish a multidisciplinary team and bring stakeholders to the table to solve the issues.