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Council to look again at how mental health clinicians are embedded with Loveland police – Loveland Reporter-Herald

Posted: February 17, 2021 at 12:52 am

Lovelands City Council will take another look at how it dispatches mental health professionals alongside police officers, after a vote taken during Tuesdays meeting.

Councilor Andrea Samson suggested the city research the Support Team Assisted Response program that works hand-in-hand with Denvers police department to free up officers from mental health-related calls.

STAR which was modeled off a program that Eugene, Ore., started more than 30 years ago sends a paramedic and a clinician to respond to nonviolent 911 calls stemming from mental health problems, substance abuse and homelessness.

Samson said Eugenes program has saved its police department and that of neighboring Springfield, Ore., millions of dollars each year, while aiding those whose mental health problems can be handled outside of the criminal justice system.

She acknowledged the Loveland Police Departments existing co-responder partnership with SummitStone Health Partners, which is supported by grant funding. Two SummitStone clinicians are embedded within the department and may respond along with officers to mental health-related calls.

However, she said she believed citizens wanted to learn more about programs that take the responsibility of responding to mental health calls off the shoulders of uniformed police.

This is important to a lot of our citizens, those who have experienced addiction, domestic violence (and) suicidal tendencies, theres a whole gamut of things that I believe our citizens are asking us to look into this for, she said.

She asked for and received the support of three other council members to have staffers draft a presentation on the SummitStone partnership; research the programs in Denver and Oregon as well as possible funding sources for introducing a program that would remove officers from certain calls in Loveland; and the possible positives and negatives of putting such a program in place.

Loveland Police Chief Bob Ticer said he wasnt aware of grants that could be used to fund the implementation of a STAR-like program in Loveland, but acknowledged the city need(s) more mental health clinicians out there and said he was open to getting the input of SummitStone clinicians on augmenting Lovelands program.

Ticer also said about 90% of his departments police officers had undergone Crisis Intervention Team training, which educates officers on how to interact with those undergoing a mental health crisis.

Our percentage of officers that are trained in CIT, I would put that up against just about any agency in America, he said. The partnership that we have is excellent. We keep our people busy, and then we get the people the help that they need, and then we can get our officers back out on other calls that require their service.

Some other council members questioned the need to reexamine a program that has been effective according to police. While councilor Dave Clark said he believed the mental health issue is more severe than ever and that he would support the police department presenting on the SummitStone partnership, he said he didnt see a need for change in Loveland.

We already have this great program, he said. To bring in another program that were going to compare it to, Im not sure if thats an item that we need to go through. I wouldnt support that at all, unless theres something wrong with the program were doing already.

No date was set for the issue to return to the council.

See the article here:
Council to look again at how mental health clinicians are embedded with Loveland police - Loveland Reporter-Herald

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