Project Manager, Policing and Substance Use and Mental Health Programs

Location: New York, NY

Department: Policing and Substance Use and Mental Health Programs

Type: Full Time

Min. Experience: Experienced

Please note that we will be moving our headquarters to Industry City in Brooklyn,NY next year.

The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, is an independent, non-partisan, nonprofit organization that combines expertise in research, technical assistance, and demonstration projects to assist leaders in government and civil society examine justice policy and practice, and improve the systems people rely on for justice and safety. Vera has offices in Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, and Washington, DC, and its projects and reform initiatives, typically conducted in partnership with local, state, or national officials, are located across the United States and around the world. Vera is an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace.

Vera seeks an experience professional to join the Policing and SUMH Programs as Project Manager of the National Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) Center to Improve Police Responses to People with Mental Illnesses and Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities. This is an exciting opportunity to join two programs at Vera that have discrete and collaborative tasks between the two programs. This is a full-time position based in either Los Angeles or New York City. Please note that we will be moving our headquarters to Industry City in Brooklyn, NY next year.

Vera’s Policing Program strives to improve American policing through reducing the reliance on enforcement by shifting incentive structures to reward public safety that is achieved through community engagement and satisfaction and increases public trust in law enforcement. These efforts include developing tools to improve trust and accountability, providing technical assistance to police and community partners, and developing, administering, and analyzing research instruments. While Vera has undertaken policing projects since our inception, the Policing Program is Vera’s newest independent program and as such, the position offers the opportunity to be involved in the growth of this important portfolio of work.

Vera’s Substance Use and Mental Health Program (SUMH) conducts applied research and provides technical assistance to help public officials and community organizations develop empirically driven responses to the substance use and mental health needs of people involved in justice systems. SUMH staff collect and analyze data to examine the interaction between public health and justice systems and evaluate existing programs in order to understand the experiences of those affected by psychiatric disorders or substance use and the polices that prolong their involvement in the justice system. Recent projects include the launch and process evaluation of a pre-arraignment screening unit in Manhattan Criminal Court, a process evaluation of New York State’s overdose prevention and naloxone distribution program in state prisons, and a study to understand how working on restrictive housing units impact correctional officer wellbeing.



Reporting to the Policing Program Director and Substance Use and Mental Health Program Director, the Project Manager will be responsible for managing the national TTA center, including monitoring compliance with funders, overseeing subcontracts, determining and promoting best practices, and providing technical assistance.

Duties include the following:

  • Work with Policing and SUMH Directors as well as with the funder to build a Center that coordinates existing assets and resources in the field to best serve police agencies and their mental health and social service partners;
  • Devise, manage, and coordinate technical assistance to program sites in the form of peer-to-peer on-site training programs, webinars, conference calls, surveys, phone consultations, and other means as appropriate;
  • Triage and coordinate TTA, as devised through project strategy and in alignment with project partners and funders.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with funders and project partners, including federal agencies;
  • Manage project and subcontractor contracts and budgets;
  • Conduct site visits of program sites (expect extensive travel) and draft site visit evaluations;
  • Oversee and assist in the preparation of reports to government partners;
  • Coordinate development and review of project materials including, but not limited to program curricula (that are IDD compliant) and provide meaningful feedback;
  • Coordinate and facilitate meetings and conferences;
  • Continuously identify promising practices among subcontractors and partners,  and devise ways to disseminate information about such practices to encourage implementation elsewhere;
  • Creatively brainstorm solutions for challenges experienced by program sites;
  • Represent the National TTA Center in public speaking engagements and at professional meetings;
  • Manage the project staff and interns; and
  • Assist with other projects as assigned.



Candidates must possess these minimum qualifications:

  • Graduate degree and/or Project Management Professional Certification with a minimum of 5 years of relevant project management experience in government or public policy development, preferably in a criminal justice-related area (policing, substance use, mental illness, and/or intellectual/developmental disability experience a plus); extensive practice experience without an advanced degree also considered;
  • Administrative experience, including budget development and management, personnel management, and working with funders and important government and other non-governmental partners;
  • Excellent research skills;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills;
  • Ability to work independently and as a member of several different work teams;
  • Ability and willingness to travel frequently;
  • Ability to successfully balance travel responsibilities with office-based responsibilities;
  • A valid driver’s license;
  • Ability to work under time pressure and other stresses that make collegiality of critical importance;
  • Demonstrated commitment to social justice, especially for vulnerable populations and those over-represented in the criminal justice system;
  • Excellent strategic, problem-solving, and analytic skills; and
  • Experience and comfort with social science and research.



Commensurate with experience, plus excellent benefits.


How to apply

Please submit cover letter, writing sample, and resume. The cover letter should outline the minimum and additional qualifications possessed by the candidate and address how the candidate will use those qualifications to excel at the position’s responsibilities. The writing sample should be no more than 10 pages.

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until position is filled. Online submission in PDF format is preferred. However, if necessary, materials may be mailed or faxed to:

ATTN: Human Resources / Policing & SUMH Project Manager Recruitment

Vera Institute of Justice

233 Broadway, 12th Floor

New York, NY 10279

Fax: (212) 941-9407

Please use only one method (online, mail or fax) of submission.

No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.


Vera is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.  All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, current employment, or caregiver status. 

Vera works to advance justice, particularly racial justice, in an increasingly multicultural country and globally connected world. We value diverse experiences, including with regard to educational background and justice system contact, and depend on a diverse staff to carry out our mission.


For more information about Vera and its work, please visit

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