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2021 Peer Support Training Conference

2020 Conference Sponsors


Contact us if your would like to be a sponsor for the 2021 Peer Support Conference.

Peer Support Conference

September 10, 2021

Registration Fee:

One Conference Ticket - $99.00

Scholarships are available for free attendance to the conference.  Email for more information.

Conference Dates:

Friday, September 10, 2021 


Various Peer Support Topics


Hilton Garden Inn

205 S 64th St, West Des Moines, IA 50266



Special room rates of $129.00 a night are available.

Rooms are limited.  Hotel reservations can be made at the following link.










2021  Conference Schedule


Friday, September 10, 2021



0800-0815     Opening Ceremonies

0815-0900     Keynote Speaker - Jessie Farrell


0910-1000     Is Your Department Prepared?  Handling LODD, Suicide, and other Active Duty Deaths

1010-1130     Marriage and Family Therapy - Sheila Russell

1130-1230     Lunch provided by the Peer Support Foundation

1300-1450     Motivational Interviewing - Carlos Vidales

1500-1545     Addiction and Treatment - Amy Oehlert, LMHC, IADC, NCC

1545-1600     Closing Ceremony




2021  Presentations
Jessie Farrell

Jesse Farrell started his Law Enforcement career in 2008 when he got hired by the Polk County Sheriff's Office,  Jail Division.  In 2011 Jesse was hired by the Pleasant Hill Police Department as a Reserve Officer.

In 2014 Jesse graduated from ILEA,  becoming a full time Officer with Pleasant Hill.

Jesse Farrell is the surviving spouse of Des Moines Police Officer Susan Farrell, EOW 3-26-16.

Jesse first learned about Iowa C.O.P.S. in the early morning hours of 3-26-16, when he was met by funeral response members at Susan's mothers home.

Iowa C.O.P.S. and DMPD family liaison Officers, helped Susan's family through their time of tragedy, guiding them through all the funeral steps and decision making, easing the pain of those decisions.

Jesse joined Iowa C.O.P.S. as the treasurer in 2018. Jesse is currently a trustee and assists Iowa C.O.P.S. whenever they need him. Jesse became a part of the Funeral Response Team for Iowa C.O.P.S. to help other families through those tough times that he endured when first meeting Iowa C.O.P.S.


Jesse stepped away from Law Enforcement in 2018 and currently runs a rock and dirt hauling company named after his wife, FARRELL5184, LLC.

Jesse also currently works part time for United Farmers CO-OP and farms for himself.

Motivational Interviewing

- Carlos Vidales


Motivational Interviewing (MI) is an evidence-based peer support strategy that elicits a person’s motivation to change a specific problematic behavior. As a brief intervention, MI helps to increase awareness of consequences of current behaviors in an empathetic, non-argumentative, but direct fashion. ​


Attendees will learn the fundamentals of motivational interviewing as it applies to peer support delivery. Through four processes (Engaging, Focusing, Evoking “change talk,” and Planning), motivation to change is elicited from the person seeking support, and is not imposed from outside forces.

Carlos Vidales is a Psychology doctoral candidate at Iowa State University. His research and clinical interests include understanding compassion and masculinity in substance misuse recovery among men in higher education.


He has been a Motivational Interviewing trainer for the last three years and uses MI techniques in his clinical interventions. 

Addiction and Treatment - Amy Oehlert, LMHC, IADC, NCC

Amy has been a Licensed Mental Health Counselor since 2005. She completed her Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling from the University of Northern Iowa.

Amy moved to a Care Manager role for Powell Chemical Dependency Center, Iowa Lutheran Hospital in 2008. She obtained her IADC credential in addiction counseling while she was a Care Manager. She worked in this role for 12 years and then moved into leadership roles for Powell.  In 2019, Amy became the Clinical Supervisor for Powell CDC and then in 2020 was hired as the Manager. Powell CDC has been a leader in the field of treatment for substance use disorders since 1973. 

Is Your Department Prepared?

Handling LODD, Suicide, and Other Active Duty Deaths

-Sgt. Yanira Scarlett and Jeremy Sprague


Line of Duty Deaths, Suicides, and other Active Duty Deaths can rock an agency and its employees to the core.   This course will teach peer support team members on how to logistically and emotionally handle LODD, suicides, and other active duty deaths.  Sgt. Yanira Scarlett is the president of the Iowa COPS organization and unfortunately has led agencies through these difficult times.  

The Effects of Job Stress on Relationships and Family - Sheila Russell


First Responders are at the forefront of challenging and life-threatening incidents.  First Responders can be subjected to more stress, trauma, and additional adverse exposures in one work shift that the general population never experiences in an entire lifetime.  As a result, these stressful and traumatic occupational hazards can make First Responders more prone to mental health conditions, financial burdens, higher divorce rates, substance misuse, family conflict, and suicidal thoughts/attempts.  What impacts the First Responder will impact their partners and children.  Couples and Family Counseling can be an asset to strengthen and improve the health, functioning, and relationship bonds.

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