Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $550,000)
The Community Assessment Response and Engagement (CARE) project is a coordinated effort of the Tucson Police Department (TPD) and Connections Health Solutions to launch a law enforcement/mental health co-responder model. Leveraging a strong demonstrated history of operating a nationally recognized (and dedicated) law enforcement Mental Health Support Team (MHST), and Crisis Response Center (CRC), respectively, TPD and Connections Health Solutions seek to make timely interventions with persons in crisis, prioritizing the following areas:
Individuals at risk of harm with mental illness (MI) or co-occurring mental illness and substance addiction (CMISA)
Female offenders with MI or CMISA
Offenders at moderate to high risk of recidivism
These interventions will utilize evidenced based practices, many of which are already implemented within Tucson/Pima County’s robust crisis system. The region features a broad crisis continuum, including a 24/7crisis line, mobile crisis teams, an 24/7 Crisis Response Center available to adults and juveniles, medication assisted treatment clinics, dedicated law enforcement mental health teams, and more.
Embedded with the TPD MHST, the CARE project will implement a model that features a bachelor’s level clinician who will serve as the program manager and two case navigators/peers.
The CARE team will respond to real-time crisis events, provide community stabilization, conduct follow-up/wrap around case management, address complex medical issues, and train law enforcement personnel across Pima county in de-escalation techniques, crisis intervention, and trauma informed care.
Pima county is a MacArthur Safety and Justice Challenge site which actively studies racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system. The MHST and Connections Health Systems, which operates the CRC, already work hand in hand to identify and prioritize vulnerable populations into treatment solutions, a model which was recognized as a Bureau of Justice Assistance/Council of State Governments Learning Site. The CARE team will leverage data collected under these initiatives and a peer response model to promote strategies which feature diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The CARE team will act as a force multiplier for a well-established MHST and will serve 500 adults and juveniles per year. The project team will utilize ongoing monitoring and evaluation of CARE to inform quality improvement to assess the impact of the project on behavioral health disparities related to access and engagement in mental health and substance use disorder treatment, as well as outcomes such as recidivism.
The Tucson Police Department has not been the recipient of JMHCP grant funds.