Prince William County Community Services (CS) and Police Department have worked hard over the past several months developing the new Co-Responder Program that was approved by the Board of County Supervisors for fiscal year 2021. Originally destined to be removed from the FY 2021 Budget in light of revenue shortfalls related to COVID-19, Supervisor Boddye advocated for full funding, citing the success of the pilot program.
When fully operational at the of this calendar year, the program will include a response team composed of a Emergency Services Clinician and a Crisis Intervention Team-certified police officer (CIT). While on duty, the team will respond to calls for service that involve mental health concerns, as well as conduct follow-up with residents who may need assistance to connect appropriate services within the community.
“This is an innovative program that allows Prince William County Police to respond to our neighbors in crisis with resources and solutions,” said Supervisor Boddye. “The co-responder model improves outcomes for our residents and officers alike.”
This collaboration, which brings clinicians and police officers together, has been shown throughout the country to result in criminal justice diversion through de-escalation tactics, and to reduce inpatient psychiatric hospitalizations by connecting members of the community with the crisis resources and treatment they need.