Winnebago County sheriff’s deputies and Rockford cops will pair with psychological well being specialists when responding to emergency psychiatric and suicidal episodes as a brand new strategy over arrests.
Legislation enforcement will group with Rosecrance crisis-intervention specialists to create a three-month pilot program, starting subsequent month, in efforts to divert folks in psychiatric crises away from the prison justice system and into remedy as an alternative, Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana mentioned.
Every specifically educated unit will embody two officers from town, two deputies from the county and two Rosecrance disaster response employees, in keeping with the Rockford Register Star. The pilot program will start Nov. 1.
“We’ve lengthy acknowledged the necessity to shortly assist people who’re experiencing a critical psychological well being episode, and thru this pilot program we’ll establish how we will really assist people who want skilled companies, not jail,” Caruana mentioned in a information launch.
Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea mentioned the “co-responder mannequin” is being adopted across the nation to provide legislation enforcement an alternative choice to arresting somebody experiencing a psychiatric episode or considering suicide. After a 911 name, legislation enforcement would safe an emergency scene earlier than disaster employees assess the particular person and develop a plan for the subsequent step, reminiscent of a referral for counseling or transport to a psychological well being facility.
Requires altering how police reply to folks in the course of a psychological well being disaster have mounted in current months. Rockford officers requested for public remark following protests within the wake of George Floyd’s demise in Minneapolis in Could after an officer pressed his knee onto the handcuffed Black man’s neck for a number of minutes.
Rockford police responded to 842 incidents involving suicidal or despondent folks within the 12 months earlier than Aug. 18 — a median of greater than two emergency calls a day.
Dave Gomel, president of Rosecrance Well being Community, mentioned Rosecrance will assist prepare the co-responder groups, which can embody their workers, Rockford police and county deputies.
“It’s actually a compassionate manner, it’s a medical manner and it’s the suitable method to work with folks in behavioral well being disaster,” Gomel mentioned.