The Fredericksburg, Virginia, police are partnering to create the area’s first team to respond to mental health calls.
The Crisis Intervention Response Team will pair one Fredericksburg police officer and one clinician from Rappahannock Area Community Services specialized in crisis intervention, the police said in a statement. They’ll be the primary unit for calls regarding people in a mental health crisis, a suicide-threat situation, self-harm and emergency custody orders. They can also be called, or deploy themselves, to help a primary officer on calls that could produce such situations.
“The CIRT will help people in crisis access the resources they need quickly; officers will experience less stress and trauma, and the RACSB will make an even bigger impact by reaching a broader audience,” Police Chief Brian Layton said in the statement. “This partnership will make our community healthier and safer.”
“Individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis will now have an opportunity for an enhanced law enforcement response to continue to best serve the individuals in our community and provide the best outcomes for those in crisis.” said Kari Norris, the emergency services coordinator of the Rappahannock Area Community Services Board.
The new officer position is funded through June 2023 by a grant from the Department of Criminal Justice, the department said, adding that when the grant runs out, the city intends to continue funding the job.