Technology

Rocky Mount Police Department Adds Mobile Crisis Response Unit

ROCKY MOUNT, North Carolina — A new unit from the Rocky Mount Police Department will dispatch trained clinicians to respond to 911 calls from people in crisis.

The Mobile Crisis Response Unit is a partnership between Rocky Mount Police, Integrated Family Services (IFS), Trillium Health Resources and Eastpointe.

Rocky Mount police say they receive hundreds of calls each year requesting intensive assistance, not an arrest.

Almost every day, officers respond to a 911 call, only to discover that it is not a criminal situation. The police department said officers responded to more than 1,700 of these types of calls from 2021 to 2022.

Rocky Mount Police Sgt. Jarrod Edmonds explained how the new unit helps “those going through mental health crises, minors who have a history of truancy or behavioral issues”.

The department said officers usually take the person in need to the emergency room. According to the department, 60% of people taken to the emergency room in these scenarios are released the next day.

“Maybe because they didn’t need the help an emergency room could provide,” Edmonds said. “Instead, they needed the help that a trained clinician could provide.”

Here’s how it will work: If officers respond to a call and identify that someone needs the crisis unit, they will call for backup and within minutes the trained clinician from the police department will arrive.

Then the clinician will be briefed on the details and moved on. The clinician will then connect the person in need of assistance with long term care.

“We hope that ultimately we will be able to serve the community, save lives and reach those who may not otherwise have access to treatment,” said Tracy Hyde, director of the outreach and community engagement of IFS Crisis.

Hyde explained how authorities plan to staff the Mobile Crisis Response Unit.

“Specifically, we have an identified full-time co-responder who will provide services during the peak hours we have identified,” Hyde said.

Edmonds said the new crisis unit will help keep officers in the community to do police work.

“It puts boots in the field, clinicians in the field, as a resource for law enforcement,” Edmonds said. “He’s someone we can call.”

If you are having suicidal thoughts or a mental health crisis, call or text 988. Veterans can press “1” after dialing 988 to connect directly to the Veterans Crisis Lifeline , which serves our nation’s veterans, military, National Guard, and Reserve members. and those who support them. For text messages, veterans should continue to text the Veterans Crisis Lifeline short code: 838255.

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