U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Washington County, Wisconsin, Co-Responder Expansion

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $548,341)

The Washington County Sheriff's Office (WCSO) will promote racial equity and removal of barriers to access and opportunity for communities that have been historically undeserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by inequality; the identification and treatment of females who have been incarcerated with MHDs or co-occurring MHSUDs; and promote effective strategies by law enforcement to identify and reduce the risk of harm to individuals with MHD's or co-occurring MHSUDs who encounter law enforcement and improve public safety.

The population of Washington County is approximately 137,688.  The demographics include approximately 91.7% white, 1.7% black or African American, 1.6% Asian, 1.5% two or more races, 3.5% Hispanic or Latino.  We are requesting $548,341 in grant funds to create another co-responder team.

The program is a joint effort between the WCSO and Washington County Health & Human Services Department (WCHHSD) that partners a deputy and mental health clinician.  The team will respond to mental health calls together in an unmarked Washington County Sheriff's Office squad.  Calls will be dispatched directly to the team or will be handed off to them from other deputies when a call has been determined to have a mental health component. 

The team will provide mental health assessments, supportive listening, referrals to community mental health services, and follow up contacts.  The team will also interface with the jail mental health clinician regarding recently released inmates who may benefit from supportive contacts in the community.

This partnership aims to improve law enforcement responses to mental health crises and improve outcomes for the identified client.  This team will impact the community by improving law enforcement's image when responding to a mental health crisis.  De-escalation on the scene will lead to a decrease in the use of force and enhance public safety by keeping the intervention collaborative and will foster more successful referrals to community resources.  

The approach benefits all Washington County residents and visitors who may find themselves in a mental health crisis.  If benefits law enforcement agencies throughout Washington County by providing an alternative to the traditional response.

Date Created: September 26, 2023