Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $369,008)
The City of La Crosse Police Department is applying for grant funding to assist with the expansion of our Community Resource Unit (CRU) by adding a second Co-Responder Team. The program is managed by the La Crosse Police Department (LCPD) in collaboration with La Crosse County Crisis, a part of the La Crosse County Health and Human Services Department. CRU is a hybrid, specialized community policing unit that works closely with La Crosse County Services, La Crosse School District, other community partners, and law enforcement staff to address the individualized needs of community members experiencing mental health crisis.
The CRU currently has one officer and one investigator who partners and collaborates with resource providers throughout the community to formulate the most effective response possible. The Community Resource Officer (CRO) co-responds, and rides with a La Crosse County Crisis Responder. The purpose of the CRU co- response is to provide the consumer with mental health services immediately at the time of crisis, while the officer presence maintains safety for everyone responding. CRU also has a Community Resource Investigator (CRI) who coordinates responses with La Crosse County Crisis Staff when responding to active calls or follow-ups to provide wrap around care.
The goal of CRU is to identify high utilizing consumers and through co-response identify gaps in resources. We work to fill those gaps and help consumers live successfully in the community without unnecessary law enforcement contact, entrance into the CJ System, or hospitalizations. Our goal is to continue to build relationships with consumers and resource organizations to identify the gaps leading consumers to have crisis incidents. Through enhancing communication internally and externally, we can in turn provide a consistent approach for everyone assisting the consumer.
In CRU’s first 10 months, we had over 1000 contacts with consumers in crisis. CRU provides services to consumers residing, working, attending school or visiting La Crosse. The population is approximately 52,680. There are three higher education centers. The demographics include approximately 89% white, 2.45% black or African America, 4.04% Asian, 2.3% two or more races, .71% other races. CRU quickly established themselves as a team to rely on to assist community members experiencing crisis. However, we have identified the need for another team. Therefore, we are requesting $503,193.42 in grant funds to create another Co-Responder team. This is the first time we are applying for a Law Enforcement Behavioral Health Responds grant.