Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $550,000)
With funding from the US DOJ BJA FY 2022 Connect and Protect: Law Enforcement Behavioral Health Response Grant Program, the City of Perth Amboy, New Jersey is proposing to implement a co-responder model as a collaborative effort between the City Administration, Perth Amboy Police Department (PAPD), and the Mental Health Association (MHA). To support these efforts, the City is requesting $550,000.00 to provide mental health professionals from MHA to respond alongside PAPD members in a co-responder model to improve public health and safety responses and outcomes for individuals with mental health disorders (MHDs) and co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders (MHSUDs). In addition, training will be provided to PAPD members to ensure that best practices are followed when responding to calls involving individuals with MHDs or co-occurring MHSUDs. The City of Perth Amboy will serve as the lead applicant for this project, with the MHA included as a key partner.
Throughout the project period, MHA will work collaboratively with the PAPD to provide training, conduct after-action reviews, and implement a full-time, on-site mental health professional program. As such, this project will address two Connect and Protect Program Priority Areas: 1) 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) Propose interventions that have been shown by empirical evidence to reduce recidivism. As the City is not a previous recipient of JMHCP grant funds, we are eager to pursue this endeavor to support the growing mental health needs of our community. To support these efforts, the City and PAPD are committed to providing the required match in-kind via staff time and resources needed to develop, implement, and administer the proposed project.
The City of Perth Amboy, located in Middlesex County, NJ, is home to a diverse population of 55,291 residents. The City has a racial/ethnic breakdown that is approximately 77.8% Hispanic/Latino, 14.8% White alone (not identifying as Hispanic/Latino), 7.9% Black or African American, 7.4% two or more races, and 1.2% Asian. Nearly 20% of residents are living below the federal poverty level. This project will benefit all residents of Perth Amboy, making the proposed mental health care services available to the City’s entire population.