Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $550,000)
With funding from the BJA FY 2022 Connect and Protect: Law Enforcement Behavioral Health Response Grant Program, the City of Paterson (“City”) and Paterson Police Department (“PPD”) propose to work collaboratively with St. Joseph’s Health (as our partnering Mental Health Agency) to develop and implement a law enforcement-behavioral health co-response program. Through this program, all partners involved aim to provide greater support to emotionally disturbed persons (EDPs) who encounter law enforcement due to mental health disorders (MHDs) and co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders (MHSUDs).
Our project will consist of a Planning Phase and Implementation Phase to ensure the successful launch of a co-responder team. During the Planning Phase, the City, PPD, and St. Joseph’s Health (SJH) will work collaboratively to further assess current challenges and limitations and develop policies and procedures for implementing co-response. During the Implementation Phase, SJH will be responsible for hiring two full-time mental health professionals to participate in co-response to calls for service for EDPs with PPD officers for an average of 60 total hours per week. Our project will also support advanced training for law enforcement officers, covering how to work collaboratively with mental health professionals during a behavioral health crisis and de-escalation strategies for individuals with mental health challenges.
The City of Paterson is not a previous recipient of Connect and Protect funds, and as such are eager to receive funding for this initiative so we may better serve and protect individuals with MHDs and MHSUDs in our jurisdiction. Further, the City is dedicated to ensuring the success of this program by providing a local match and in-kind support from PPD staff, which will facilitate effective project planning, successful implementation, and timely reporting on project performance to DOJ.
Regarding program-specific priority considerations, our proposed project will address the following: (1) To promote effective strategies by law enforcement to identify and reduce the risk of harm to individuals with MHDs or co-occurring MHSUDs who encounter law enforcement and improve public safety; and (2) To propose interventions that have been shown by empirical evidence to reduce recidivism. See page 9 of the attached Proposal Narrative for our justification for seeking such priority consideration.
Further, regarding OJP Priority Areas, our project will support Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through Federal Government. See page 2 of the attached Proposal Narrative for our justification for seeking such priority consideration.