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Connect and Protect: Mental Health Crisis Response

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, $549,292)

The Connect and Protect program is a continuing partnership between the Mobile Police Department and AltaPointe Health, providing officers in each precinct with iPad telehealth technology, and expanding the current co-response efforts from the JMHCP grant, Award #2020-MO-BX-0034. Mobile is a large metropolitan area, flanked by rural and unincorporated areas. The target population is individuals, their families, or businesses, who currently call 911 in a behavioral health crisis. The number of individuals served is expected to be 6,500 people with a total project cost of $759,564.00. 

Staffing shortages affect the ability to divert individuals with mental health disorders and co-occurring substance use disorders from incarceration. Force multipliers, such as telehealth technology, allow officers to communicate immediately with a clinician, in a 24-hour crisis diversion center, saving time waiting for a clinician to travel to them. Other similar programs report the average clinician assessment takes approximately 20 minutes, resulting in over 80% reduction in the length of call for officers.   

All officers will receive training in basic crisis de-escalation with virtual reality tactical simulation, use of telehealth iPads, and crisis center diversion. 30% of officers will be trained in Crisis Intervention Team Training. A program director and clinicians will provide evaluation, intervention, and referral via telehealth. AltaPointe’s Crisis Response Team will provide follow up reducing recidivism.  The homeless crisis is becoming a police issue and partnerships are essential to address the needs of this population.

The Homeless Outreach Team officer, with an AltaPointe clinician, will identify homeless individuals in the community. The team will focus on building rapport, helping individuals engage in mental health or medical treatment, applying for housing opportunities, and other benefits. The team will also aid during inclement weather by providing socks, gloves, blankets, hygiene items, and transport to shelter. 

The program goals are to decrease arrests; decrease “use of force” and “officer-involved” incidents; decrease future calls for services to 911, using 988 instead; decrease time officers are on scene; increase the number of trained officers in the field; increase use of the 24-hour crisis center rather than incarceration; and increase engagement in treatment for women, minority, and underserved individuals. Data necessary for sustainability will be collected by the University of South Alabama. 

The City of Mobile seeks to address the needs of those with difficulty accessing services due to racial inequality, from underserved or marginalized populations; and special women’s services utilizing evidence-based programs.

Date Created: September 26, 2023