Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $530,300)
The City of Alamosa is applying for the Connect and Protect grant to develop and maintain a Co-Responder program within the City of Alamosa. The City is partnering with Valley-Wide Health Systems, Inc (Valley-Wide) to clinically supervise the Co-Responder and help train and support the officers in recognizing and working with people who experience mental health and substance use disorders. The Alamosa Co- Responder program will address the Connect and Protect priority of "promoting effective strategies by law enforcement to identify and reduce the risk of harm to individuals with mental health disorders or co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders who encounter law enforcement and improve public safety".
The City of Alamosa is located in the southern central region of Colorado within the San Luis Valley. According to the US Census Quickfacts web page: Alamosa's population is approximately 10,000 residents with approximately 55% identifying a Hispanic/Latino; the median household income is $38,000 compared to the state median household income of $82,611. Alamosa is the regional hub of retail, employment and other services for the entire 8,000 square mile San Luis Valley (population approximately 50,000). The City itself is small in population, but has a high incidence of people who are experiencing homelessness, substance use concerns and mental health concerns.
Officers have contact with residents from outside the city often due to the rural region of the San Luis Valley. The City estimates this program will serve approximately 300 individuals and plans for over 900 separate Co- Responder contacts annually. As a small department, a large portion of the program will also includ Crisis Intervention Training (CIT), Mental Health First Aid and other trainings for the officers and Co- Responder team members.
The Co- Responder program will address a variety of needs for the community and the Police Department. One of the challenges a rural police department has is the length of time for response for crisis mental health support as well as a lack of inpatient treatment for mental health or substance use concerns. With a Co- Responder team member, response time will decrease and interventions can be shared among the entire department to create consistency for the residents and less "off-street" time for the officers.
The City of Alamosa has not received any other Connect and Protect grants. The City is requesting $530,300 for this three year project. The City will be subcontracting with Valley-Wide to support the behavioral health development of the program.