Weeks after expanding its co-responder pilot program to Chicago communities, the city announced Thursday that it has launched a new dashboard to track response times, follow-ups and arrests made to calls to the 911 involving mental health crises.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and other city agencies announced the launch of the Crisis Assistance Response and Engagement (CARE) program new data dashboardwho will provide regular updates on when and how these 911 calls are handled.
“The dashboard will not only tell us how well we are meeting the urgent needs of Chicagoans facing a behavioral health crisis, but it will also inform future strategic decision-making and the deployment of community resources,” said the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health. Dr. Allison Arwady said in a statement. “It’s rarely an isolated case when it comes to mental health emergencies. Our strategy, which the data dashboard will inform, focuses not just on the immediate crisis, but on connecting individuals to appropriate community resources to support their long-term physical and emotional health.
The goal of the program is to eliminate arrests and use of force incidents for callers who need support while experiencing mental health issues. While responding to calls, CARE teams can help transfer residents to community facilities such as psychiatric living rooms, shelters, mental health clinics and crisis centers.
CARE teams, which are made up of police officers trained in crisis intervention, a mental health professional and a paramedic, handled crisis calls in Uptown, Lakeview and North Center on the north side , and in Auburn Gresham and Chatham on the south side, since last year.
This program has since been expanded to Chicago Lawn, Gage Park, West Elsdon and West Lawn neighborhoods.
The city has also launched new Alternative Response Teams, which are paired with a community paramedic from the Chicago Fire Department and a mental health clinician from the Chicago Department of Public Health.
Dashboard data will be maintained by a CDPH epidemiologist, depending on the city, and will provide monthly numbers specific to each community area.
According to the dashboard, CARE teams have responded to 224 calls since last September. In these calls, there were no arrests and no police use of force events.
“The CARE pilot program is an important strategy to provide alternative response options to people with mental and behavioral health needs when public safety is needed to provide assistance,” Police Superintendent David Brown said in a statement. “This scorecard will advance our reform efforts by improving transparency and raising awareness of the city’s crisis response efforts.”
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