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Intercept 1: Law Enforcement

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The primary activity at Intercept 1 is law enforcement and emergency services responses to people with mental and substance use disorders.

Intercept 1 Overview

  • Begins when law enforcement responds to a person with mental or substance use disorders.
  • Ends when the individual is arrested or diverted into treatment.
  • Is supported by trainings, programs, and policies that help behavioral health providers and law enforcement to work together.

Key Elements for Diversion at Intercept 1

  • Dispatcher training about mental health and mental crises can improve dispatcher ability to detect when responders with mental health expertise are needed.
  • Specialized law enforcement training can teach law enforcement officers how to identify the signs and symptoms of mental disorders and de‐escalate crises. These trainings prepare responders to effectively support people with mental and substance use disorders when they see them. Example: Crisis Intervention Team (CIT)
  • Specialized law enforcement responses include partnerships between law enforcement and behavioral health clinicians or case managers. Specialized law enforcement responses can help people with mental and substance use disorders access the services they need. Examples: Police-Mental Health Collaboration, Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD)
  • Data sharing. When agencies and systems collect and share data, it’s easier to tell if an individual is using 911 or emergency services frequently – becoming a “familiar face” across the criminal justice and emergency systems. Law enforcement agencies, crisis services, and hospitals can use data to identify familiar faces and follow up after a crisis. Once these individuals are identified, they can be connected with the preventive care they need.

Local Examples at Intercept 1

  • Arlington Opiate Outreach Initiative (MA)
    This is a program of the Arlington Police Department. Law enforcement officers identify people with substance use disorders during their work on calls or cases. The Mental Health Clinician (the program coordinator) then approaches these individuals and connects them to recovery planning and services.
  • Colorado Springs Community Response Team (CO)
    This is a collaboration between the Colorado Springs Fire Department, Colorado Springs Police Department, and Aspen Pointe Behavioral Health. The team responds to behavioral health emergencies and addresses behavioral health and physical health needs. The responding paramedic has admitting privileges to the inpatient mental health unit at the local hospital.
  • Sonoma County Mobile Support Team (CA)
    This is a service of the Sonoma County Behavioral Health Division. It provides on-scene support to officers who encounter people experiencing a behavioral health crisis. It provides this support to officers in the Santa Rosa Police Department and deputies in the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. Team members provide crisis de-escalation, follow up after a crisis, and help with placement into the right services.

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