(WWLP) – Several police departments across western Massachusetts have announced a new co-response program.
A full-time staff member of Behavioral Health Network is assigned to the police to provide consultation and assistance during calls that need mental health services.
Which can include someone in crisis, substance abuse, or homelessness.
“They’re not social workers. we expect police to be Swiss army knives of everything and they just don’t have that same background that trained crisis counselors do and talking with police, the chief loves it that are working love it,” said West Springfield Mayor Will Reichelt.
Mayor Reichelt added that this service is in no way a reduction of police, it is just an additional resource for the department.
Two Hampshire County police departments also made similar announcements Tuesday.
Easthampton and Hadley police departments announced said they would be sending clinicians alongside police when responding to mental health calls.
Easthampton Police is teaming up with Clinical and Support Options, a group that offers similar services to police departments in Greenfield, Montague, and Deerfield.
Clinicians may travel with an officer or respond independently on a case-by-case basis.