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The Daily Barometer

The Student News Site of Oregon State University

The Daily Barometer

The Student News Site of Oregon State University

The Daily Barometer

Corvallis police reflect on situation table approach

PJ Royland
Captain Joel Goodwin discusses in an interview about the situation table on Feb. 15, 2024 in the Benton County Sheriff’s Office.

For the past three months, community partners of the Corvallis Situation Table have been hard at work bringing care to those at elevated risk. 

Originally developed in Canada by Global Network for Community Safety Canada Inc. the situation table is a triage model designed to get care to individuals at high levels of acutely elevated risk, according to Operation 2 Save Lives’ website.

“It’s a tried and true, well proven model,” Corvallis Police Department Captain Joel Goodwin said. “So it was just making sure that we were able to work through little unusual circumstances as they came up.”

Goodwin added that, for the first several situation table meetings, an instructor from the East Coast, Mike Botieri, attended to see that the table ran smoothly. 

“(Botieri) was there to make sure that they could answer any questions that we had or, you know, if there was something that came up that we didn’t know exactly how to handle, he could help us through that,” Goodwin said.

While the situation table approach is still in its infancy, Goodwin reported that it has already produced positive results.

According to Goodwin, out of 23 situations reviewed by the table so far, 37 people have been served. Of those situations now closed, 74% of people have reported now being at lower risk because of the situation table approach. 

Sixty percent of individuals helped by the table have been female and the majority of situations have been for people in the 40 to 49 age range.

Goodwin said the most frequent risk factors that the table has seen are housing, basic needs, poverty, mental health, physical health, unemployment, suicide and posing a threat to the public. 

“We did have two situations where we were able to locate the person but they weren’t able to be connected to services yet,” Goodwin said. “Then we reviewed the situation of one person, but then we were not able to locate them. And we had one situation that was presented that we did not move forward with because it didn’t meet all the criteria to move forward through the process.”

While Goodwin says there are no plans to expand the program – aside from those community members who continue to join the situation table approach – he thinks the group is able to serve Benton County well. 

“I think that there may be interest in other areas, especially as (the situation table) continues to gain momentum,” Goodwin said. “And if they were interested in starting a situation table in Albany or Newport or someplace else, we would absolutely be happy to support them in whatever way we could. We’re not instructors on how to implement it, but we would definitely be a resource and help support them on the way.”

While Goodwin stands by the situation table model, he said the real credit goes to the participants on the team. 

“The folks that are engaged in this process are very driven to make sure that people are being taken care of,” Goodwin said. “They’re eager to collaborate with others, because that’s one of the criteria for a situation to move forward. In the process, it has to cross over multiple different sectors of need. There’s multiple different potential risk factors. So we’re able to draw from a variety of disciplines. And I’m very proud of how well everybody’s been working together to make a difference through this process.”

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