Data: Mental Health Professional Helps Police Handle Crisis Calls

Nov 28, 2014

The Warwick Police department will be embedding a mental health professional on its force. The idea is to replicate a program in Providence, and there’s new data about how that program is working.

The Warwick program will be similar to the one in Providence, where a mental health team member rides along with cops to reach out to people in crisis and make an evaluation on the scene when needed. The so-called “community diversion clinician” tries to help people avoid jail when mental health treatment could be the better option.

The Providence Center says since it started the program in 2012, nearly 150 people have had a mental health evaluation at the scene of an incident or crime. And more than half of those evaluations have led to some kind of treatment, including in-patient hospitalization.

The mental health professional also works with the courts to help divert people from jail and into treatment when appropriate.