Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $550,000)
Little Rock Police Department, (LRPD, lead agency), in partnership with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Psychiatric Research Institute (UAMS PRI), will develop and improve on the current police mental health collaboration (PMHC) in Little Rock, Arkansas. Little Rock is home to a diverse population and has a strong network of healthcare providers, including UAMS, which offers a variety of mental health services. Little Rock also houses one of four Crisis Stabilization Units (CSUs) in the state, the UAMS Pulaski County Regional Crisis Stabilization Unit (PCRCSU), created by the same 2017 legislation that mandated Crisis Intervention Team training for law enforcement agencies. LRPD employs three full-time social workers, who work closely with the UAMS Pulaski County Regional Crisis Stabilization Unit to divert individuals to treatment. LRPD is committed to build a more robust PMHC which increases the number of diversions and referrals to treatment, and reduces use of force. This initiative will focus on four elements to expand PMHC and improve response to persons with mental health and substance use disorders: 1) plan and build a pilot co-responder program within LRPD, 2) build a data system for central dispatch in Little Rock to increase diversion and preserve officer resources at the initial call for service, 3) increase fidelity of the CIT model and expand mental health training for first responders in thearea, and 4) implement a community awareness campaign targeting communities who are known to have inequitable treatment in the justice system to increase knowledge of the opportunity to divert persons with behavioral health issues to treatment.
The objectives for the project include: 1) increased diversion of citizens from the justice system, 2) decreased arrests of persons with behavioral health conditions, 3) decreased ER transportation of persons experiencing behavioral health conditions, 4) reduced psychiatric hospitalization rates and increased referrals to community services, 5) reduction in officer time spent on scene, 6) increased awareness of the Black/African American community of diversion services, and 7) measurable higher fidelity of training in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) and CIT programming. The project will address the priority area of promoting effective strategies for officers’ identification and reduction of the risk of harm to people with mental health and substance use disorders. Neither LRPD nor UAMS is a prior recipient of the MJHCP or Connect and Protect grant awards. This proposal requests the fill amount of $550,000 with a required match of $283,334.