VPD Receives $300,000 Grant to Fund Integrated Health and Resource Program – Times-Herald

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The Vallejo Police Department announced Tuesday morning that it has received a grant of more than $300,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Policing to support the development and deployment of a new Integrated Health and Resource Program.

The program will create a new mobile crisis intervention team in the community that will address Vallejo’s specific and immediate mental and behavioral health needs.

“The Vallejo Police Department recognizes the need for appropriate trauma-informed response and services when it comes to caring for our residents who are experiencing a mental or behavioral health crisis,” Police Chief Shaunie Williams said in a news release. “We are proud to work with our community partners to help reduce employee involvement for those in crisis who require unique and specialized care.”

The IHART Mobile Crisis Response Unit will operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and will provide Vallejo residents with a specialized response team trained in trauma response and mental and behavioral health support, police said.

Police say, “The police department expects to improve outcomes by deploying a team of highly trained people who are skilled at handling social service calls, particularly for those experiencing mental health and social service crises. The team will also be provided with information on medical and housing referrals, outpatient mental health services, addiction support and more to ensure people can connect to long-term services to support their wellbeing.”

Additionally, the release states that the integration of the specialized unit will “significantly reduce the need for VPD officers to respond to mental and behavioral health calls. Replacing police officers with crisis workers, social workers and health workers who have specialized training in dealing with mental health and social crises will greatly reduce the likelihood of escalation and remove potential triggers for people experiencing difficulties. Adding this program to the city’s emergency response toolkit will also give the VPD a greater capacity to respond to the most immediate and violent crimes in Vallejo.”

Vallejo police saw a 37 percent increase in mental health-related calls, with officers responding to more than 100 mental health-related calls each month. The department is confident that once IHART is established, it will refer nearly 70 percent of mental health-related calls to CIT.

The police department will hold two public workshops in the coming weeks to ensure that IHART’s policies, protocols and priorities are community driven and informed. The workshops will be held on Wednesday, November 16th from 6-8pm and Wednesday, December 7th from 6-8pm in the Vallejo Room, located at 505 Santa Clara Street in Vallejo.

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