City Police and Community Services Board create region’s first team to respond to mental health calls

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The Crisis Response Team (CIRT) is a collaborative effort between the Fredericksburg Police Department and the Rappahannock Area Community Services Board (RACSB).

The CIRT will follow up with individuals, family members and caregivers after a crisis to see if additional services are needed. “I am delighted to partner with the RACSB to provide this important service to the City of Fredericksburg. The CIRT will help people in crisis quickly access the resources they need, officers will experience less stress and trauma, and the RACSB will have an even greater impact by reaching a wider audience. This partnership will make our community healthier and safer,” said Police Chief Layton.

“The Rappahannock Area Community Services Board and all RACSB Emergency Services personnel are energized and excited to see the launch of our co-response program in partnership with the Fredericksburg Police Department. Individuals facing a behavioral health crisis will now have the option of an enhanced law enforcement response to continue to better serve individuals in our community and provide the best outcomes for those in crisis. said Kari Norris, emergency services coordinator.

The team consists of a patrol officer and a community services clinician from the Rappahannock area who specializes in crisis intervention. They will be dispatched and serve as the primary unit for calls regarding mental health crises, suicidal threats, suicide attempts/self-harm, and emergency custody/temporary detention orders. They will also be able to self-distribute or request to assist the lead officer on calls that may create a crisis for someone involved, including the investigation of death, homicide, child abuse, sexual offense, domestic violence, missing person, barricade and other serious crimes. or events. The CIRT will work four 10-hour shifts built around analyzing periods of high demand for mental health calls.

This CIRT will help reduce the risk of violent encounters during a call, reduce the need to issue an emergency custody order against someone the team can help, shorten the process of emergency custody order by pre-screening their interaction and reducing the likelihood of future unstable situations by connecting people in need to the services that will help them.

The new police station is funded through June 2023 by a grant the police department applied for from the Department of Criminal Justice. The City intends to continue funding this full-time police officer position after the grant obligation period ends.

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