Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,467,744)
The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) provides law enforcement services to the citizens of Oakland County, Michigan - a population of more than 1.2 million residents. The OCSO is the sole patrol and law enforcement provider for over 367,000 residents.
The county’s overdose crisis is a public safety and health emergency that threatens the well-being of individuals who misuse drugs and impacts the safety of communities. Prescription drugs and prescription drug abuse are driving an epidemic of overdose deaths that include the boundaries of Oakland County.
On a national level, law enforcement interactions with persons in a mental health crisis has been highlighted in the discussion surrounding de-escalation, response to resistance, and training. How these incidents have been handled, or portrayed by the media and other outlets, has called into question the legitimacy of law enforcement response. Mutual trust is essential to maintain public safety and a partnership between law enforcement and the mental health community to provide applicable services and enhanced response to persons in crisis is needed.
This grant proposal seeks to expand an existing law enforcement deflection and diversion program and educate community members on the crisis response concept; 100% of the budget will be dedicated to these activities.
The program will provide the ability to expand individual agency Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) trained law enforcement officers, along with the creation of a county-wide Crisis Response Team made up of dedicated CIT law enforcement officers who receive advanced training and respond where the need arises, similar to a county-wide task force. The Crisis Response program will include 12 communities that contract with the OCSO for law enforcement services and 39 local and multijurisdictional law enforcement agencies within Oakland County.
The Crisis Response Unit will provide training to teachers, counselors, and citizens in the crisis response concept. The abbreviated training will ensure that crisis response is being addressed county-wide in places of worship, schools, and homes. The training is not a certification in CIT but will enhance an understanding around crisis response and mental health.
By creating a county-wide Crisis Response Unit and increasing CIT training, officers will be better equipped to respond to individuals experiencing a crisis and divert them to mental health agencies to receive appropriate care. The anticipated outcome of this program is a decrease in overdose deaths within Oakland County.