Frederick Ryan, Chief of Police
112 Mystic St.
Arlington, MA 02474
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015
Contact: Captain Richard Flynn, PIO
Email: [email protected]arlington.ma.us
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Arlington Police Department Secures Funding for Vital Jail Diversion and Mental Health Programs
Grant Allows Arlington Police to Work with Mentally Ill and Other Vulnerable Populations
Services and Aid Instead of Arrest and Incarceration
ARLINGTON — Chief Frederick Ryan reports that the Arlington Police Department has secured a three-year $135,000 state grant to fund the continuation of its innovative and vital jail diversion and crisis intervention programs.
“The Arlington Police Department is committed to providing services and assistance to some of the most vulnerable people in our community, including the mentally ill and those addicted by the disease of drug addiction,” Chief Ryan said. “This funding allows us to continue that mission for at least three years by offering police more avenues than jail cells and handcuffs.”
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services Department of Mental Health awarded Arlington the money to support the police department’s Jail Diversion Program.
Chief Ryan called the Jail Diversion Program “a vital part of the Arlington Police Department’s community policing strategy and a method by which police officers can play an active role in responding to the biggest public health issues of our lifetimes.”
Arlington launched the program in 2010 with a similar grant, in collaboration with The Edinburg Center. The goal is to divert individuals with mental illness, substance abuse, or developmental disabilities from the criminal justice system to appropriate treatment options.
“We recognize that prison is simply not the best solution for all people who break the law,” Chief Ryan said. “Our Jail Diversion Program allows us as police officers to work directly with these people and their advocates to find a solution that makes the community whole.”
As part of Arlington Police Department program, a trained mental health professional responds with officers during certain calls for services to effectively work with residents who display mental health issues or who are known to suffer from mental health diseases or developmental disabilities.
In 2011, the Arlington Jail Diversion Program expanded its mental health and substance abuse services by joining forces with Arlington’s Health and Human Services Department and the Arlington Fire Department to create a hoarding response team. The group works with residents who request or who are identified as needing assistance with hoarding and/or squalor related issues.
This grant allocation will be broken up over the next three fiscal years, with the department receiving $45,000 in fiscal 2016, 2017 and 2018. There is potential for renewal for fiscal years 2019 through 2023.
The state issued a total of $1.9 million in grants to police departments to allow existing programs to continue. Funding was also provided to expand the number of law enforcement agencies developing jail diversion programs that strive to provide treatment instead of incarceration for those experiencing a behavioral health crisis.
“Intervention training for our local police departments will help individuals with mental health issues find appropriate care,” said Governor Charlie Baker in a statement. “We are proud these grants will offer the assistance, skills and resources for local law enforcement to identify those in need of mental health or substance abuse care and seek out appropriate treatment services.”
A total of 13 departments earned grant funding for the next three years including Bedford, Boston, Brockton, Danvers, Fitchburg, Marlborough, Somerville, Taunton, Wakefield, Waltham, Watertown and Worcester.