“What this unit is going to do is allow us to provide the people that need assistance with that opportunity at a time when they’re more than likely to take us up on that offer,” said Hoffman. “Now we’re able to connect people that are in need of assistance with resources at, more than likely, what is the most critical moment.”
Hoffman said the program has been up and running since the end of May and is already making a difference.
Dover Police received assistance in setting up the program from New Castle County Police which operates the Hero Help Initiative.
“Just shy of two months into this program here and we’re already starting to see a shift in how business is conducted in the police department and handled on the streets,” said Hoffman.
Dover Police spokesman Sergeant Mark Hoffman said two behavioral health clinicians are being paired with two Dover Police officers who are both members of the Community Policing unit.
Dover Police said the teams will work 12-hour shifts, on opposite days, to ensure 365-day service.
“It’s been a great collaboration,” said Hoffman. “They’ve been a huge help in letting us see what the program is like, and certainly played a big role in getting ours off the ground.”
In addition, the University of Delaware is providing Dover Police with the same software support it supplied to New Castle County.
The members of the new unit are Patrolman First Class Michael Simpkiss, a four-year veteran, and Patrolman First Class Thomas Rivera, a six-year veteran. The clinical field partners are Watara Heath and Vasile Mihai Rus, both of whom work with the Dover Behavioral Health (DBH) System.