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Behavioral Health Co-Responder Program

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, $550,000)

The Lincoln Police Department (LPD) is applying for $550,000 of federal funding to implement a co-responder program. The goal is to improve the outcomes of individuals in crisis and stop the escalation of community members with mental health issues to decrease crisis situations by providing effective crisis de-escalation, interventions, and connection to appropriate behavioral health services.

Lincoln is the second largest city in Nebraska and serves as the Capitol. Though our authorized strength is 366 we currently have 333 commissioned officers for Lincoln’s population of 292,657.  Eighty three percent of the population identifies as White, with about eight percent as Latino and four percent as Black.

The co-responder program will serve youth and adults with mental illness or co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse. LPD data estimates 20,000 calls for service annually could benefit from a co-responder team response. The following priorities are being addressed through this program: Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government; Promoting effective strategies by law enforcement to identify and reduce the risk of harm to individuals with MHDs or co-occurring MHSUDs who encounter law enforcement and improve public safety.

CenterPointe Behavioral Health as well as the Malone Center will serve as partners for the co-responder program. CenterPointe will house staff in LPD to respond with officers when dispatch determines a call for service is mental health related. The Malone Center will conduct community conversations to ensure our underserved community is instrumental in the development of a co-responder program.

The Lincoln Police Department will contract with the University of Nebraska for data evaluation. Progress will be measured through system point data analysis to determine the impact of the program on the progression of individuals with mental health in the criminal justice system. Community satisfaction surveys will be collected for a qualitative analysis of the data.

The Lincoln Police Department is very fortunate to have numerous partner agencies as part of this grant. The addition of a co-responder program will fill a significant gap in our criminal justice system. Through this funding opportunity, our community will finally be able to take our crisis response system to a higher scale while ensuring our most vulnerable residents receive vital services with minimal involvement from the criminal justice system.

While the Lincoln Police Department is not a direct recipient of a JMHCP grant, LPD is a partner in Lancaster County’s Youth Mental Health Diversion Program Grant # 2020-MO-BX-0015.

Date Created: September 26, 2023