Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $525,000)
The Township of West Orange together with the West Orange Police Department (WOPD) is applying for the US DOJ BJA FY 2021 Connect and Protect: Law Enforcement Behavioral Health Responses Grant. The WOPD proposes to continue its partnership with the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris (MHAEM) to promote effective strategies by law enforcement to identify and reduce the risk of harm to individuals with mental illness (MI) and/or co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse (CMISA).
The Township of West Orange, New Jersey, is the fifth largest municipality in Essex County, with a population of approximately 47,500. The Township has a racial/ethnic breakdown of approximately 42% White/Non-Hispanic, 28% Black/African American, 20% Hispanic/Latino, 7.5% Asian, 4.5% mixed race, and 0.1% Native. This project will target the entire West Orange population for mental health care to be inclusive of all residents.
The Township of West Orange is a previous recipient of the USDOJ: Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP) grant, award number 2018-MO-BX-0021. The Township was awarded $100,000 and created an action report that outlined the six-month pilot collaborative initiative between the WOPD and MHAEM. During the initiative, MHAEM was able to provide the WOPD with training, after action review and an on-site mental health professional pilot-program. Due to the success of this initiative, the Township and WOPD are looking to fully implement a co-responder model for full time response to MI and CMISA calls with MHAEM. The Township is requesting $525,000 in funding to collaborate with MHAEM for two mental health professionals to respond with WOPD for a full-time co-responder model. In addition, continued training for all WOPD officers will be provided through this funding. The Township and WOPD are committing to providing an in-kind match through time and resources for development and implementation as well as for the management and administration of this project. This Collaboration project will address two Connect and Protect Program-specific Priority Areas: Promote effective strategies by law enforcement to identify and reduce the risk of harm to individuals with MI or CMISA and to public safety; and Propose interventions that have been shown by empirical evidence to reduce recidivism.