Rocky Mount Police Department adds mobile crisis response unit

ROCKY MOUNT, NC — A new unit at the Rocky Mount Police Department will dispatch trained clinicians to respond to 911 calls from people in crisis situations.

The Mobile Crisis Response Unit is a partnership between the Rocky Mount Police Department, Integrated Family Services (IFS), Trillium Health Resources and Eastpointe.

Rocky Mount Police say they receive hundreds of calls each year requiring intensive assistance, not an arrest.

Almost every day, officers respond to an emergency call only to discover the situation is not criminal. The police department said officers answered more than 1,700 of these types of calls from 2021 to 2022.

Rocky Mount Police Sgt. Jarrod Edmonds explained how the new unit “helps those going through mental health crises, young people who have a history of truancy or behavior problems.”

The department said officers usually take the person in need to the emergency room. According to the department, 60% of people brought to the emergency room in these scenarios are discharged the next day.

“Maybe because they didn’t need the help that an emergency room could provide,” Edmonds said. “Instead, they needed the help of a trained clinician.”

Here’s how it works: When officers respond to a call and determine that someone needs the response team, they call backup and within minutes the police department’s trained clinician is there.

The clinician then receives a briefing on the details and goes into the topic. The clinician then connects the person in need of care to long-term care.

“We hope that ultimately we will be able to serve the community, save lives and reach those who otherwise would not have access to treatment,” said Tracy Hyde, IFS Crisis Director of Community Outreach and Engagement.

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Hyde explained how authorities plan to staff the mobile crisis response unit.

“Specifically, we have an identified full-time co-responder who will provide services during the peak hours that we designate,” Hyde said.

Edmonds said the new crisis unit will help keep officers in the community to do policing.

“It puts the doctors on the ground, the clinicians on the field, as a resource for the law enforcement officers,” Edmonds said. “It’s someone we can call.”

If you are having suicidal thoughts or a mental health crisis, call or text 988. Veterans can press “1” after dialing 988 to connect directly to the Veterans Crisis Lifeline, which serves our nation’s Veterans, service members, National Guardsmen and Reserves members and those who support them. For text, Veterans should continue to send the Veterans Crisis Lifeline shortcode: 838255.