Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $550,000)
Two years ago, The City of Petaluma Police Department (PPD) and Petaluma People Services Center (PPSC) implemented a pilot program of the first mobile crisis intervention team in Sonoma County called Specialized Assistance For Everyone (SAFE). SAFE was based on the program Crisis Assistance Helping Out On the Streets (CAHOOTS) based out of Eugene, Oregon. Before implementation in Sonoma County, the SAFE program was custom designed to meet the unique needs for the City of Petaluma. Petaluma was the first City in the County to implement this program and is currently the only 24/7 operation in the State of California. The purpose of SAFE is to improve resident outcomes in Petaluma by providing a specialized alternative to immediate law enforcement or emergency services involvement during non-emergency calls for service. Our clinical response team is trained to handle residents facing mental health, substance use, and homelessness-related issues. Using a person-centered approach, staff prioritizes resident well-being during every response call to adequately navigate the patchwork of mental health care and crisis responses. The scope of services include transport, wound care, evaluation, and linkage to services for residents needing immediate shelter, treatment for mental illness, detox, or rehabilitation from controlled substances. Over the last two years, PPD has collaborated with health care, public safety, and community services partners to ensure widespread public dissemination and awareness of the SAFE program. As a result of our efforts, The SAFE Team has diverted 6-10% of monthly calls for services away from law enforcement. In just under two years of service, e the SAFE team has completed over 872 transports, 183 Emergency Room Diversions, 105 Jail diversions, and completed over 6,180 calls for service. Based on these numbers, the pilot project was a success and we are hoping to fully implement this program as a permanent service to the community.