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Lowell Police Department's Co-Responder Program

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $549,993)

The City of Lowell, MA Police Department (LPD) is the applicant agency submitting a grant proposal to the FY 2023 Connect and Protect Law Enforcement Behavioral Health Response Program. The LPD is proposing to collaborate with Advocates, Inc. to continue a co-responder program. This program will target individuals in Lowell who have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder (MHD) or co-occurring mental health and substance use disorder (MHSUD) as well as those who are displaying signs of MHD or MHSUD prior to or during arrest.


The City of Lowell, Massachusetts has a very diverse population of approximately 115,000 residents. Of the 115,000 individuals, about 58.2% are white, 22.2% are Asian, 9% are black, and 17.6% identify as Hispanic or Latino. Lowell’s median income is $64,489, which is almost 32% lower than the state median of $89,026.1Additionally, 17.5% of Lowell’s population is below the poverty line. Research suggests that environmental and social stresses, including socioeconomic disparities as seen in the City of Lowell, are major predictors for mental disorders and substance use.2


In 2022, Lowell had 712 Section 12s, which is the “emergency restraint and hospitalization of persons posing risk of serious harm by reason of mental illness”.3 Also in 2022, there were 19 Section 18s, which is the “hospitalization of mentally ill prisoners” or those who threaten to harm themselves while in police custody.4 In order to address the increase in mental health related calls and incidents, Advocates, Inc. will hire two Mental Health Clinicians. These Clinicians will accompany LPD officers to mental health related calls. The clinicians will help de-escalate situations and provide additional insight. They will also refer individuals with MHSUD to the Lowell Community Opioid Outreach Program (CO-OP), which was created in 2016 to connect individuals to services.


The LPD will also work with researchers from the University of Massachusetts Lowell to conduct an analysis of high utilizers. This analysis will give the LPD and BJA a better understanding of how the co-responder program impacts future encounters with law enforcement officers.


The department received grant funding from the JMHCP in 2017 (2017-MO-BX-0046) and 2019 (2019-MO-BX-0019) and is requesting $549,993 over a 36-month period to complete the proposed project.


[1] U.S. Census Bureau. (n.d.). QuickFacts Lowell, city Massachusetts. https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/lowellcitymassachusetts/PS…

[2] National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). (2017, October 25). Addressing the Opioid Crisis Means Confronting Socioeconomic Disparities. https://archives.nida.nih.gov/news-events/noras-blog/2017/10/addressing…

[3] https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXVII/Chapter123/S…

[4] https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXVII/Chapter123/S…

Date Created: September 26, 2023