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Today: June 21, 2024
March 15, 2024
1 min read

MPD introduces innovative tech to assist those in mental crisis.

TLDR:

  • Mobile Police Department (MPD) has introduced new technology to assist in mental health crisis situations.
  • A $750,000 federal grant has enabled officers to connect with a clinician virtually through iPads.

In response to the increasing mental health challenges post-COVID, the Mobile Police Department has incorporated new technology to aid in crisis situations. Thanks to a $750,000 federal grant, officers now have iPads equipped with a quick-connect feature to virtually reach mental health professionals when encountering individuals in distress. This program aims to enhance current mental health co-response efforts between MPD and AltaPointe to improve crisis intervention.

Dr. Cindy Gipson, Associate Director of Crisis Services at AltaPointe, highlighted the surge in mental health issues since the pandemic, emphasizing the importance of timely intervention. With over 400 mental health calls received by MPD this year alone, the introduction of iPads in patrol vehicles is expected to streamline the process of connecting individuals in need with clinicians.

The simple functionality of the iPads – featuring red buttons for citizens and blue buttons for officers – allows for immediate access to mental health professionals. By reducing the burden on officers as first responders in mental health crises, the program aims to de-escalate situations effectively and prevent potential use of lethal force.

Corporal Nathaniel McCarty emphasized the significance of this new de-escalation technique in ensuring the safety and well-being of individuals in crisis. The success of the program is evident in the positive outcomes reported from recent mental health calls responded to by trained officers, with a high percentage resolved on-site.

With ongoing training and support from mental health professionals, MPD is gradually implementing the iPad program across precincts to empower officers with the necessary tools for effective crisis intervention. As the department continues to equip officers with iPads, the goal is to enhance community safety and well-being through accessible mental health support.

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