Brooklyn Park Police Welcome Assistance For Mental Health Calls
The Brooklyn Park Police Department is modeling how agencies can better respond to complicated mental health calls.
“We’re really the first in at least the state of Minnesota to have a true, robust, multifaceted response to mental health in this community,” said Officer Elliot Faust, Brooklyn Park Police. “That’s what alternative response really is meant to be, an alternative to police officers going to calls.”
The alternative response team is comprised of a paramedic from North Memorial and a social worker from Hennepin County.
“There’s times that a police officer goes to the call first and realizes this is probably not really in our wheelhouse, it’s probably better suited for a social worker, and so they’ll call in the alternative response,” stated Faust.
Brooklyn Park provides centrally located office space, so when dispatched, the alternative response team can be anywhere in the city in a short period of time.
The police department first implemented the response team strategy in 2019 as part of a two-year pilot program.
The city hopes the alternative response team’s intervention will reduce the financial burden of these calls on the court systems, jails, and ultimately, the taxpayers.
Officers Welcome Alternative Response Team
Faust says while there’s still some kinks to be worked out, the program has been well-received by the officers.
“Although we’re great communicators and we’re great problem solvers, it really isn’t our in our wheelhouse to to deal with complex mental health issues,” explained Faust. “It’s been extremely successful the officers welcomed these resources with open arms.”
The alternate response team works 40 hours a week, Monday thru Friday. The city’s goal is to eventually have more teams working around the clock.
For more information on the program, contact the Brooklyn Park Police.