In Memoriam: Honoring the legacy of Bob Butkiewicz

It is with heavy hearts and deep sadness that we announce the sudden passing of our esteemed colleague and friend, Robert (Bob) Butkiewicz, on February 22, 2024, after a brief illness. 

Bob joined the Center for Behavioral Health and Justice at the Wayne State University School of Social Work (CBHJ) as a project coordinator in 2019. In this role, he was able to share his expertise with jail, law enforcement, and behavioral health partners across the state. Before joining the CBHJ staff, Bob retired from Integrated Services of Kalamazoo where he was a community partner in the CBHJ’s jail diversion research. Bob's 30-year career focused on crisis care including supervision of clinicians and peers, designing and facilitating Crisis Intervention Team trainings, serving as a member of a metro SWAT team hostage negotiations unit, and developing police/mental health co-response models.

Photo of Bob Butkiewicz sitting with Rahni Cason
Bob laughing with Rahni Cason.

In addition to the professional impact he made on the CBHJ, Bob built lasting personal relationships with many of his colleagues. “Bob had a wealth of knowledge and was supportive of our team. He was uniquely him, he loved to chat, make connections with people, check in on your well-being, and joke,” said Zarria Broner, CBHJ program assistant. “I really value the time I worked with him and the lasting impression he left on me.  He will be truly missed!”

“Bob took the time and genuine attention to develop friendships with pretty much anyone. He dug into the messy criminal legal and behavioral health systems and helped us tease out the important bits. He did it with a smirk on his face, while never forgetting about the humanity in everyone,” said Leonard Swanson, CBHJ Crisis Policy Manager.  “Bob not only imagined a better world—he made it happen. I’ll do my best to carry forward his snarky, joyful energy, but it won’t be the same without him.”

Details on arrangements and CBHJ efforts to honor Bob’s legacy will be forthcoming. Please contact for more information.

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