The district believes the additional crisis intervention support will result in safer resolutions for everyone involved, while giving officers with live crisis intervention experience alongside a licensed professional. This comes as district police see a rise in mental health calls.
Sneed has been advocating for this change for the past decade.
The funding comes through the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services as part of the Community Policing Development program.
The district says another goal of the two staffing additions is to continue anti-biased training and verbal de-escalation techniques. In partnership with the LMHPs, the AISD Police Department hopes to develop training videos and materials and put them on an online platform for officer training.
According to the district, the grant will fund two contracted, part-time LMHPs who will respond and assess high-risk crisis calls involving things like trauma, mental health and suicide.
“Family violence and child abuse cases have gone up, and some of our calls are related to that, and other calls are just people who have a difficult time coping,” said Sergeant Wayne Sneed, who oversees the department’s mental health division.