Crisis Team Mayor Presser

The Frederick Police Department will unveil a new program in July that will create a special crisis team of a police officer, a paramedic and a mental health professional that can respond to calls involving people in the midst of a mental health crisis. The program was announced Wednesday by Frederick Mayor Michael O'Connor, right, Frederick Police Chief Jason Lando, center, and County Fire Chief Tom Coe, with Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Services.

The Frederick Police Department plans to unveil a new program in July that will create a special crisis team of a police officer, a paramedic and a mental health professional that can respond to calls involving people in the midst of a mental health crisis.

The department's “crisis car” will respond to mental health emergencies across the city, doing follow-up visits and wellness checks on patients when the team is not responding to active calls, city officials said Wednesday.

While the idea that some calls are better handled by mental health workers than police officers is becoming more popular across the country, not many programs pair the three disciplines of law enforcement, mental health and emergency services, Frederick Police Chief Jason Lando said.

The six-month pilot program will run Monday through Friday in the afternoons beginning July 1 and lasting through the end of the year, with the hope that it becomes a full-time program.

The program is a partnership between the police department, mental health provider Sheppard Pratt, the Mental Health Association of Frederick County, Frederick County Fire & Rescue Services, the City of Frederick Department of Housing & Human Services and the Frederick County Health Department.

Five Frederick officers have volunteered to take part in the pilot.

“They want to see different outcomes,” Lando said. “They don't want to be in a situation where they're using force any more than necessary.”

The program will team a non-uniformed officer with a civilian mental health worker and a paramedic/EMT in an unmarked car.

Having officers in plainclothes and in an unmarked car is important in order to illustrate that having a mental health issue is not a crime, said Scott Rose, chief of rehabilitation and recovery services at Sheppard Pratt.

Research is clear that combining law enforcement and mental health services can be more efficient and cost-effective, he said.

Frederick's program could be a state or even national example to follow, Rose said.

The idea for the program began with many of the conversations about the role of police that began last summer, Frederick Mayor Michael O'Connor said.

Much of those discussions revolved around the idea that police officers are not always the best people to respond to a situation.

The idea was a key topic of conversation when Lando was hired earlier this year, O'Connor said.

Frederick Alderman Kelly Russell, a retired Frederick police officer, called the pilot program an “awesome” opportunity for the city and the community, with the chance to provide a way of entering the mental health system that's not necessarily driven by law enforcement.

Follow Ryan Marshall on Twitter: @RMarshallFNP

Ryan Marshall is the transportation and growth and development reporter for the News-Post. He can be reached at rmarshall@newspost.com.

(10) comments

CaringCommunity

"...program will run Monday through Friday in the afternoons..." So, if individuals are going through emotional upheaval during those times, all will be just fine. However, if they are so inconsiderate to have distress any other normal time when those events usually happen, shame on them.

LeBlancp01

Sorry to see this still under the Police Department i was hoping our Social Services /Heath Service department would be the drive and manager of this. It is time for Frederick City to form its own Heath and Fire Services departments and to stop looking to the Police Department do more in this space.

teadoffinfrederickcounty

Being that marital strife is the primary cause of most domestic violence incidents. reported to police, a seasoned marriage counselor should be included in the response team. A PICTURE IS WORTH 1,000 WORDS. Michael O'Connor looks like a deer in the headlights. And, based on the other expression, that marriage counselor is of paramount importance!

FrederickFan

This is a duplication of the mobile crisis unit that the county put together about a year ago. The mobile crisis unit serves the city and is the exact same service model. Why duplicate?

teadoffinfrederickcounty

Being that marital strife is the primary cause of most domestic violence incidents, reported to police, a seasoned marriage counselor should be included in the response team. A PICTURE IS WORTH 1,000 WORDS. Michael O'Connor looks like a deer in the headlights. And, based on the other expression, that marriage counselor is of paramount importance!

naegelee

Frederick County has had mobile crisis services for over a decade. This is a dedicated car for the city and the key difference is no uniform for the officer or car to decrease that stress. Also, crisis workers will be present with police instead of getting called out to a scene secondarily.

Frankle1

This sounds so reasonable, I really hope it works in practice. We definitely need to invest more in long term community mental health and substance abuse treatments. Keep people out of jail unless they committed violent offenses.

frankwell

They forgot to include the dog catcher!

saogirl52

I'm sure they'd call in Animal Control. if required. This approach could definitely lessen the possibility of unneccesarry violence. Do you have a problem with this?

Koselak

👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. No vulgar, racist, sexist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, not personal attacks or ad hominem criticisms.
TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
Be civil. Don't threaten. Don't lie. Don't bait. Don't degrade others.
No trolling. Stay on topic.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
No deceptive names. Apparently misleading usernames are not allowed.
Say it once. No repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link for abusive posts.

Thank you for reading!

Already a member?

Login Now
Click Here!

Currently a News-Post subscriber?

Activate your membership at no additional charge.
Click Here!

Need more information?

Learn about the benefits of membership.
Click Here!

Ready to join?

Choose the membership plan that fits your needs.
Click Here!