Plymouth Police Say Mental Health Initiative Is Working
It’s been exactly one year since the Plymouth Police Department kicked off a joint mental health initiative with the Minnetonka Police Department. Plymouth Public Safety Director Mike Goldstein says the program is needed now more than ever, with the COVID-19 pandemic and civil unrest following the George Floyd death.
“It’s been wildly successful. We know that the outcomes are better than what we had available before,” said Goldstein.
Both Plymouth and Minnetonka police departments share a social worker, who is employed by Hennepin County. The social worker connects with people experiencing mental crises and provides resources.
“The cases will be forwarded to our mental health unit. Each of our departments has a dedicated investigator that reviews these cases, and in conjunction with the shared social worker, they come up with a case management plan,” explained Goldstein.
More than 500 Mental Health Cases Reviewed
According to Plymouth police, in 2019, 497 mental health cases were reviewed by both Plymouth and Minnetonka. And so far this year, that number has jumped to 547 cases.
Police Chief Mike Goldstein says the department responds to a variety of mental health-related calls, including suicide attempts and welfare calls, but says there are not enough mental health resources available to the public.
“We’re the only 24/7 social services agency that’s available. So, there is no one else available to handle these incidents. We try to do so professionally,” said Chief Goldstein.
He wants to continue the program, even when the two-year initiative ends.