Fredericksburg creates crisis intervention team to aid police on mental health calls | WTOP News

Police in Fredericksburg, Virginia are partnering to create the area’s first team to respond to mental health calls.

Police in Fredericksburg, Virginia are partnering to create the area’s first team to respond to mental health calls.

The Crisis Intervention Response Team will pair a Fredericksburg police officer and a Rappahannock Area Community Services physician specializing in crisis intervention, police said in a statement. They will be the main unit for calls related to people in a mental health crisis, a suicide threat situation, self-harm, and emergency custody orders. They may also be called upon, or deployed, to assist a lead officer on calls that might produce such situations.

“CIRT will help people in crisis quickly access the resources they need; officers will experience less stress and trauma, and the RACSB will have an even greater impact by reaching a broader audience,” Police Chief Brian Layton said in the statement. “This partnership will make our community healthier and safer.”

“People experiencing a behavioral health crisis will now have an opportunity for an enhanced police response to continue to better serve people in our community and provide the best outcomes for people in crisis.” said Kari Norris, emergency services coordinator for the Rappahannock Area Community Services Board.

The new officer position is funded through June 2023 by a grant from the Department of Criminal Justice, the department said, adding that when the grant runs out, the city intends to continue funding the work.

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