Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $532,749)
Pittsburgh is a diverse and multi-racial metropolitan area, with portions of the population that receive discordant resources and attention. In particular, data demonstrates that racial minority groups face unequal access to employment and quality healthcare, and these and other systematic factors conspire to make them disproportionately more likely to need to utilize emergency healthcare and safety services. When called to intervene in a crisis situation, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police are currently the response group most likely to arrive to volatile situations, but are not necessarily adequately prepared to assist a community member with unique mental health or substance abuse needs receive treatment if arrest is not appropriate. Through the funding of this grant, the PBP and OCH&S will be enabled to more effectively intercept those segments of historically underrepresented populations who are faced with mental health and substance use disorders.
Recognizing the need for a comprehensive and specialized Crisis Intervention Team within the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police (PBP), the Office of Community Health & Safety (OCH&S), in conjunction with the PBP, is seeking to apply for $532,749.05 in funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance over 36 months. OCH&S will provide the 20% of in-kind contributions for the first two years and 40% the third year to adhere to BJA’s funding requirements, which totals $161,794.08 over 36 months. With the funds derived from the grant, the PBP will hire a CIT Project Coordinator to assist in the development and implementation of CIT curriculum, training requirements, selection of CIT officers, and the sustainment of the program. The position will also coordinate activities between CIT officers and their assigned social workers to include co-response activities. It will also fund the position of a data analyst, which will ensure the program is measurably improving outcomes for interactions between the PBP and members of the community experiencing mental health or substance abuse issues, including the underlying factors that may lead to these challenges for an individual.
OCH&S will provide a Community Social Worker to provide the CIT program and officers with expertise in mental and behavioral health practices and experiences. Through this partnership, the PBP will be able to effectively provide cross-system, collaborative responses to individuals with mental health disorders and co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders given that the CIT program is designed to handle cases such as these.
These funds will also be used to inform PBP practices and provide the Mayor’s Office and the Department of Public Safety with data on the efficacy of the program to make sound public policy decisions.