There has been a gradual shift in police response from the aggressive “you’re under arrest, don’t resist” to a less confrontational “We want to hear you out and connect you to community resources.”
Amber McDonald, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado, serves as a clinical supervisor for Longmont’s Crisis Outreach and Engagement (CORE) program. The innovative co-response team in the Department of Public Safety is growing and showing promising results, especially during a pandemic that has spurred mental health problems coupled with greater barriers to service. Some Longmont officials credit the CORE program, in its fifth year and soon to add a fourth on-the-ground team, for a 50% decline in suicides.
CORE sends a team of three – a behavioral-health expert, a police officer and a paramedic – to each call. The goal is to de-escalate and problem-solve the incident rather than assign hasty judgment and simply process the call. The CORE program has been collecting data on the effectiveness and quality of the program and continues collecting additional information. More on this story here.