By Zack Frink
The Ohio Criminal Justice Service has awarded the City of Dayton a $1.4 million grant, enabling the establishment of a crisis response program designed to more effectively address mental health emergencies, reports Dayton 24/7 Now.
The big picture: Slated to start in late 2023, the program will consist of a team of six experts, including certified professionals trained in mental health crisis response.
- They will take over handling specific 911 or direct calls for service that police have dealt with in the past, allowing law enforcement to focus on more appropriate calls.
By the numbers: Dayton experienced a 73% increase in mental health-related 911 calls from March 2021 to September 2022.
Zoom in: In June 2022, the city initiated a mediation response unit, which successfully managed close to 2,000 low-level conflict-related issues using de-escalation techniques.
- The upcoming crisis response unit will function in a similar manner, with therapists attending to mental health crises.
Between the lines: Collaborative efforts between the Dayton Police Department and Montgomery County Sheriff's Office Regional Dispatch made these programs possible.
- The $1.4 million grant is a portion of the $20 million in resources that Governor Mike DeWine allocated for community-based violence reduction initiatives.
Why it matters: The introduction of the new crisis response program aims to steer individuals away from the criminal justice system when feasible, offering improved support and access to mental health resources.