LSPD Launches Mental Health Co-Responder Program
The Lee’s Summit Police Department has launched a co-responder pilot program in partnership with ReDiscover to provide additional assistance and resources to officers responding to calls with a behavioral health component. An outreach clinical specialist with ReDiscover will work full-time at the Lee’s Summit Police Department and serve as a co-responder.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lee’s Summit Police Department has experienced an increase in calls related to behavioral health. By pairing a behavioral health professional with a law enforcement officer, immediate intervention can be provided on scene to individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis.
The co-responder program is possible due to funding from the CARES Act, which established a $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund to assist state, local and tribal governments. The program will be in effect on a temporary basis through December 2020 then be evaluated based on cost and effectiveness to determine if it will be renewed.
The co-responder program is designed to act as a compliment to the Lee’s Summit Police Department’s existing Crisis Intervention Team and Safe Passage programs, which are also aimed at helping individuals in crisis. The Crisis Intervention Team program was formed in 1999 with the National Alliance on Mental Illness to train officers in techniques to aid those in crisis. The department launched Safe Passage in 2019 in partnership with ReDiscover, First Call KC and local health care providers to support those suffering from substance use disorders. All programs are voluntary and focus on assistance rather than traditional enforcement.