Greenbelt Police Department launches crisis intervention team

In Prince George’s County, one police department has enlisted a new crisis intervention team to help people with behavioral health problems connect to resources in the healthcare system instead of the judicial system.

The partnership between behavioral health professionals and police in Greenbelt, Maryland, hopes to help those with substance abuse disorders as well.

In the release announcing the partnership, the department listed the goals of the crisis intervention team as:

  • Providing improved outcomes of police interactions community members with behavioral health diagnoses.
  • Redirecting clients with behavioral health concerns from the judicial system to the health care system.
  • Reducing the number of repeat calls for service for persons with behavioral health concerns.
  • Reducing incidents in which someone with behavioral health issues commits criminal acts.
  • Reducing incarceration of persons with behavioral health diagnoses.
  • Reducing recidivism by adult and juvenile consumers with behavioral health diagnoses.

“With the creation of the Crisis Intervention Team, we are continuing to build on the resources we can provide to the community, furthering our commitment to serve Greenbelt to the best of our abilities,” Police Chief Richard Bowers said in the statement.

Chief Bowers added that the new program will bolster the city’s existing family counseling program, Greenbelt CARES, which is “dedicated to promoting responsible behavior and appropriate family management skills,” according to the city of Greenbelt’s website.

“This program, along with mental health services offered by Greenbelt CARES, provides the highest level of care for our residents. The goal of community policing is prevention. When an individual is linked to appropriate community resources, they are then supported and less likely to be involved in inappropriate or criminal behavior.”

The department said it addressed 34 calls for service and follow up visits since the team launched last month.

Tadiwos Abedje

Tadi Abedje is a freelance digital writer/editor for WTOP. He was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Northern Virginia. Journalism has been his No. 1 passion since he was a kid and he is blessed to be around people, telling their stories and sharing them with the world.

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