NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) – Officers at one Eastern Carolina police department are getting some extra help when out in the field.
Sen. Thom Tillis recently announced $1 million in grants to North Carolina law enforcement agencies.
As part of the award, the New Bern Police Department will receive $350,000.
The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services – or COPS programs for crisis intervention.
The department already has crisis counselors, or “co-responders.”
“If an officer is on the scene and they need a co-responder, pretty much an officer who’s available, we’ll come by the police department and pick up the co-responder and take them out to that location,” Lt. Donald McInnis explained.
However, now with the grant, McInnis says what currently is just two crisis intervention officers – will soon become a team of them.
As McInnis details, the need for crisis intervention during calls involving behavioral health and developmental disabilities is common.
“Within the first six months, co-responders respond to about 200 calls; you have a trained behavioral health professional who can deal with that aspect of the call,” McInnis said.
New Bern police say about 88% of its calls involving a crisis counselor prevented involuntary commitments to rehabilitation facilities or arrests.
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