New program will help Mobile police better respond to mental health calls, focus on treatment

Mobile County

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – A new program being launched this summer in the Port City will help Mobile police officers better respond to mental health calls and treat those who are mentally ill.

On Thursday, Mayor Sandy Stimpson announced the city received a 742,000 grant that is going to allow AltaPointe to partner with the Mobile Police Department to address the mental health problems in our community.

The new program calls for mental health professionals and law enforcement to work cooperatively. The goal is to prevent people with serious mental illness from going to jail or tying up space in emergency departments and to create a safer community.

The grant takes a four-tiered approach to accomplish these goals:

  1. It allows AltaPointe and the Mobile Police Department to develop a curriculum and train police officers on how to respond to someone experiencing a mental health crisis.
  2. The grant makes way for AltaPointe to establish a co-responder pilot project. This allows AltaPointe to send a mental health clinician out with a law enforcement officer when responding to a mental health-related call. Clinicians will provide on-site assessment and intervention, and quickly connect people with mental health services.
  3. Grant funding allows AltaPointe to continue their initiative at Mobile Metro Jail to identify people with serious mental illness, engage them in treatment, and try and reduce their chances for re-arrest.
  4. Provide in-home wrap-around services for individuals with a serious mental illness and frequent contact with law enforcement. The in-home team can address factors that lead to arrests, such as lack of income, stability, and substance misuse.

Public Safety Director Lawrence Battiste says he believes this new program will help the Mobile Police Department immensely.

“If we can stabilize those individuals on the front end and not incarcerate them, we limit what we are pouring into our justice system and we provide those individuals with a level of treatment that they can move forward with,” says Battiste.

The program is set to officially launch this summer.

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