Cleveland Police Department helps pilot new mental health co-responder program

The Cleveland Police Department has been chosen as a part of pilot program that has allowed them to hire their first mental-health co-responder

The co-responder will assist officers responding to members of the community having any type of mental health crisis and provide de-escalation, assessment, and resources.

Mark Gibson is the Chief of the CPD. He said this is a department that will help keep down the number of unnecessary incarcerations for the mental ill.

“That’s our goal is we want to we want to take care of people, whatever their issue is. If it’s an issue with drug abuse or mental health, we want to be able to offer those services without the option of just going to jail,” Gibson said. “You know, that seems to be the trend and we don’t want to do that. We want to get them somewhere where they get received the help they need.”

CPD’s Public Information Officer Evie West was involved in the hiring process. She said she knows it a unique role that requires an individual with patience and compassion.

“We’re looking for officers who are caring, compassionate officers who are empathetic toward the needs of our community. And we have to understand that we’re dealing with people, human beings that prefer not to be in this situation,” West said. “And so finding someone that has a lot of patience and that’s that’s uses wisdom on how to make decisions going forward.”

The funding for the pilot program ends in March 2023. The Cleveland Police Department is currently trying to look for additional grant funding to cover the future costs.

Categories: Bradley County, Local News