Tompkins County is piloting a co-response model that will send mental health professionals with law enforcement officers on calls related to mental health crises. How should the success and outcomes of the program be measured?
The pilot program, to begin in 2023, will create a team staffed by one TCMH Licensed Clinical Therapist (LCT) and one Law Enforcement Officer Officer to respond to calls for service when someone is experiencing a mental health crisis.
A joint response has been determined preferable for this pilot progam as police are specialists in handling situations that involve violence and potential injury, while mental health professionals are specialists in providing mental health consultation to officers and mental health care to individuals in crisis (Shapiro, Cusi, Krst, et al. 2015)- Vera Institute). The Tompkins County Sheriff's Office recognizes that many in the community are calling for a model similar to Cahoots (Oregon) or Denver STAR programs, which are staffed entirely by non-uniformed staff. These programs evolved from and currently co-exist alongside a co-response model in their respective jurisdictions. The formation of this pilot unit, in consultation with the Whole Health Department's Mental Health division, will serve as the vehicle to evaluate and implement future specific plans.
Evaluation of the program will begin at its onset, and will track outcomes and impact concurrent with the program’s first year in effect. Ideas shared here will be considered as potential evaluation criteria.
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