Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,000,000)
The City of Charleston, WV seeks $1 million in DOJ Byrne funding to establish the city’s first Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) to meet the growing need for solutions to assist individuals with mental illness or substance use disorder in the community. This CIT will help to create a continuum of crisis services through the expansion of the City’s successful Coordinated Addiction Response Effort (CARE) office which provides services to individuals who are experiences homelessness, suffer from a mental illness, or have a substance use disorder. At present, the CARE office operates a Quick Response Team (QRT). This QRT visits individuals at their homes within 72-hours of an overdose with the goal of connecting individuals with substance use disorder to treatment; however, the city currently lacks the capacity to provide real-time response for individuals experiencing crises.
Responding to the clear need for better approaches to community challenges and building off the best emerging models, Charleston seeks to conduct a robust, interagency initiative that will pair community policing approaches with mental health, substance abuse, social services, family welfare, and judicial diversion program to respond to incidents of distress that do not require a “cops-only” approach. This funding will support Charleston in obtaining expertise on best practices in community crisis intervention; hiring staff to manage the program; funding personnel in community policing, health, social services, and other fields to be part of the Intervention Team; additional training for police officers on mental health, de-escalation and other effective approaches, and establishment of the infrastructure of case management, community engagement, and client evaluation and placement strategies to sustain the program as a community approach beyond the funding period. Targeted outcomes of this initiative include a reduction in the number of arrests, an increase in officer and individual safety, and an increase in the number of referrals and placements to mental health, family, and SUD services and programs within the City of Charleston.