Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $658,000)
The Portland, Maine Police Department will implement the Portland Alternative Response Team (PART) initiative to provide a non-law enforcement response to certain calls for service triaged through the Portland Regional Communications Center. Call Takers will screen calls to determine the most effective and safe response (officers, co-responders, or PART). While calls involving weapons, violence, or threats of violence will be assigned to officers, most calls involving behavioral health, substance use, or well-being checks will be assigned to PART or co-responders who will provide in-person support, crisis stabilization, connections to community supports, referrals and follow-up.
Alternative Response Programs are a win-win for individuals suffering from mental health and substance use disorders as well as law enforcement agencies. Community members will receive the specialized services they need while officers will be freed up to respond to other pressing public safety issues. The PART program expands PPD’s already robust specialized behavioral health response capabilities and continues the Department’s history of collaboration with local social service providers. Additionally, this project is cost-effective in that it melds existing infrastructure and resources with a new method of providing service. We anticipate the end result will be improved outcomes for individual consumers and better overall public safety services to the community.